Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Mr. Wonderful and Michelle on April 30, 1994

Today, by God's amazing grace, Mr. Wonderful and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary!

I found myself checking the clock from time to time. At 10:30 this morning, I realized that it was at this time 16 years ago we saw each other for the first time in a little wedding chapel. This was not the actual wedding chapel where we were married, but a beautiful little chapel where we could see at each other for the first time on our wedding day and pray together before we became man and wife. I can still remember how my heart was pounding when he walked in the room! It was an amazing moment I'll not soon forget.

As are most weddings, it was a magical day. I walked down the aisle at 11:00 a.m. to a harp and violin playing Pachabel's Canon. A little while later, we joined hands and walked back down the aisle together as husband and wife to the Easter Song.

Where have 16 years gone? On one hand I feel like it's been a blink in time, but on the other hand, I feel like we've always known one another and have never been apart. If there has been one decision we made early on that we have kept all these years, it has been doing everything together. We have continued that tradition as a family. I truly believe that one ingredient, togetherness, along with our love and respect for one another and our deep abiding faith in the Lord Jesus, has kept us safe thus far.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Surely he has more satisfaction in life, who labours hard to maintain those he loves, than the miser has in his toil. In all things union tends to success and safety, but above all, the union of Christians. They assist each other by encouragement, or friendly reproof. They warm each other's hearts while they converse together of the love of Christ, or join in singing his praises. Then let us improve our opportunities of Christian fellowship. In these things all is not vanity, though there will be some alloy as long as we are under the sun. Where two are closely joined in holy love and fellowship, Christ will by his Spirit come to them; then there is a threefold cord.

New International Version
Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

We spent our evening together at a little cafe for a quaint dinner and then enjoyed our first fire of the year on the patio. It was a perfect night, really. The skies were clear, the stars were sparkling, Mr. Big Dipper was right above our heads, there was hardly a breeze and it was a balmy 78 degrees.

We lead a rather boring life, Mr. Wonderful and me. And I like it that way. We find sitting side-by-side, watching the embers shift and sparks fly in the quiet of the evening, a perfect way to celebrate this very special day in our lives. Sometimes pondering accomplishes great things.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Wonderful!

aka Mrs. Thankful

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cinnamon Roasted Nuts

My sister-in-love, Julie, makes this very yummy treat for special family get togethers. I think I'll just add that all of our family get togethers are special!

Families are a gift and I thank God for the family He has given me.

Cinnamon Roasted Nuts

What you will need:

1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
4 cups whole almonds (can also use pecans and/or cashews)
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Lightly beat the egg white; add water and vanilla, and beat until frothy but not stiff. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugars, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Toss to coat, and spread evenly on the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until golden. Allow to cool, then store nuts in airtight containers.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy, Happy Day!

The traditional smiling pancake for breakfast

Rachel turned 12 on April 28th. Instead of spending our afternoon at Mrs. Nagy’s house, Mrs. Nagy and I surprised Rachel and took her down to Amish Country for lunch and then shopping. Mrs. Nagy presented Rachel with her very first sewing box filled with little treasures. I’ve been to Amish Country many, many times, but I can assure you that until this time, I’ve never, ever noticed sewing or quilting stores. It was wonderful! Our eyes were truly opened to the beauty of quilting. I can only hope that someday we can move from practicing quilting stitches to creating an actual quilt, little quilting squares and all.

Early in the evening, we surprised Rachel again by having most of her cousins and extended family join us for a birthday celebration at a local pizza restaurant. As we pulled into the parking lot, she spotted a few familiar faces in the windows and the gig was up. I don't think she stopped smiling until she put her head on her pillow.

Happy Birthday!

Just when she thought there was no more surprising to be had, we had her birthday present waiting for her when she arrived back home. She might be 12, but this girl loves to play, especially with Playmobil. I've often teased her that she could have an entire room devoted just to Playmobil! She had asked for an additional floor to her hospital along with several accessories. Oh, what fun to watch her put everything together and then set it all up. These are toys we plan on holding onto for the grandchildren...someday!

One very happy girl with her Playmobil hospital

Do you remember that lovely little patchwork quilt I made a couple of weeks ago? I had the joy and pleasure of presenting Rachel with it as a special birthday gift from me to her. It just so happens that this very quilt was the perfect size for her American Girl doll bed! Who knew? I think she enjoyed receiving the quilt almost as much as I did in giving it to her.

What a truly wonderful day! Happy, happy day to our dear Rachel.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words. So, here's five thousand words!

And no, I didn't cry.

Rachel has been asking to do this for a very long time

About 10 inches cut off...she had 6 inches cut off 3 months ago

The excitement is beginning to grow

Oooh, what a little bit of stylin' will do

One very happy girl

I've had a slight problem with her wanting to get her hair cut off so short. See, I live through her hair. I own her hair. I love her hair. I wish I had her hair. And I really didn't want MY hair cut off. She can't really be serious about getting her hair cut off, right? Wrong! She was serious and she has asked me many times over the past year. We compromised a couple of months ago and she had six inches cut off. Almost three inches had already grown back! I think that helped me warm-up to today's decision.

I think it looks adorable.

She absolutely loves it.

I love it that she loves it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Caution: Moron Post

Yes, this would be me.

I am such a moron. Let me say that again. I am such a moron.

I had no intentions today of writing about being a moron, but since I have just discovered that's exactly what I am at this precise moment in time, I'll write about it.

Moron: A stupid person; dolt; a person of subnormal intelligence; a person who is not very bright

What's worse, my two-days-away-from-being-twelve-years-old daughter, kindly pointed this out to me a mere 15 minutes ago. Lovely.

Last week I went to Hobby Lobby and selected fabric for my next quilting project. I'm making a crib-size quilt this time. Not too big, but not too small. I have no one in baby shower coming up. I'm doing this just for me so I can practice. I chose a funky multi-colored circular/flower design on a white background. I chose it because I thought it would be fun to hand quilt. Then I chose a beautiful baby pink flannel to complement it along with quilting thread, batting, and my very own set of quilting pins. Unfortunately, when I arrived home I quickly discovered the pink flannel was faded along the top where it was wrapped on the bolt of fabric. This made for a lovely white line straight down the middle of my fabric. This right here should have been a sign.

I took the fabric back to Hobby Lobby and selected a baby blue 100% cotton fabric instead and checked it before walking out of the store. I've never done this before and had no idea I needed to check the fabric. Lesson number one.

This takes us to today's events.

I was hoping to have my quilt ready to start quilting before our get together with Mrs. Nagy on Wednesday.

I washed and dried both pieces of fabric.

I ironed both pieces of fabric.

I placed both pieces of fabric together, trimmed two edges of the blue fabric so there was a two-inch difference between the fabrics and then carefully placed the batting in between.

I used my new quilting pins (yes, they were positioned straight!) to secure all three layers in place.

I started basting by finding the center and stitching from there to all four corners, then from the center to all four sides. I even added additional diagonal basting stitches since I thought there was too big a gap between the center to the corners. Then I basted around all four sides of the entire piece. I was quite proud of myself. This right here should have been a sign.

Enter Rachel...

"Which side is the top?"
"I suppose either one of the short sides."

Warning: moron stage one has just begun

"No, I mean which side is the top?"
"Well, I don't think it matters really. It's to fit a crib so it will be one of the short sides."

Warning: moron stage two has just begun

"No, what I mean is, is the blue side the top?"
"No, the white side is the top. That's where the design is."
"Oh. So why do you have it cut like this?"

Warning: full-blown moron, but still doesn't know it

"Why do I have it cut like what? I left enough to fold the edges over when it's finished."
"But I thought you said the white fabric was the top of the quilt?"
"It is."
"OK, but shouldn't the blue fabric be cut bigger than the white fabric so the white is on the top when you fold the edges over?"

Are you afraid for me?

"You know...if you want the top to be white, you would need the white to fold over like this (she's now showing me what she means) so that way the border is folded over the blue, like this."

Light bulb finally turns on.
Heart sinks.
Reality sets in.
Big mistake.

"Oh. Big sigh. I guess I had better call Mrs. Nagy and find out what I should do."

Then I added this little line so I could feel better about myself...

"Well, you know, I wanted to add a three-inch white satin border on this anyway, and I'm sure it will work out just fine."

I hope so.
I hope so.
I hope so.

The look on Rachel's face was absolutely classic. It said something like, "Mmmm hmmm. Yea. Right." With respect, of course.

So I have a call into Mrs. Nagy and am patiently waiting to find out if I have to remove all the basting stitches and cut down my crib-size quilt into something a little smaller.

I hope not.
I hope not.
I hope not.

Lesson number two: Just because Mrs. Nagy has shown you a little something about a needle and thread does not make you qualified to start a quilt on your own.

Insert whining here...

I was just trying to be a good student, all prepared for class, you know!

I'm heading to a corner to cry now. With my dunce cap, of course.

P.S. Yes, it's perfectly OK to feel sorry for me. I have a funny feeling Mrs. Nagy will not allow things to stay "as is."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mama's Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

Isn't your mouth watering right about now?

I can't say I'm a big fan of slow cookers, but I'm slowly learning to appreciate the hands-off approach to cooking, when necessary. I'm one of those people that loves to be involved with food while I'm preparing it. I actually enjoy peeling potatoes and cutting onions! How weird is that?

I came up with this simple recipe a few years ago. Our favorite barbecue sauce is either Jack Daniel's or Sweet Baby Ray's. I added balsamic vinegar to this recipe to help cut the sweetness of the sauce. If you happen to be near a TJ Maxx or Marshall's, go to their specialty food section and pick-up a bottle of good-quality balsamic vinegar for cheap. Did I ever mention those are my favorite stores to shop? Oh, yea.

And here's a little FYI...did you know that by adding some balsamic vinegar to sliced strawberries while they macerate in a little bit of sugar helps draw out the true flavor of the berries? It's true!

By the way, pork tenderloin is one of our all-time favorite grilling meats. In our neck-of-the-woods, pork tenderloin is usually on sale in February for $2.99 a pound. Since it usually comes in cryovac packages, it freezes perfectly. Just take out a package the day before you need it, and thaw in the refrigerator. Or quick-thaw in a sink filled with cold water.

Mama's Slow Cooked Barbecue Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

What you will need:

2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds), trimmed if needed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Your favorite barbecue sauce
3 to 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
8 chewy rolls, split, buttered and lightly grilled or toasted

1.5 or 2 Quart Slow Cooker, turned on low

Cut pork tenderloins, across grain, into 1 to 1.5 inch medallions; drizzle a little olive oil into the bottom of a 1.5 or 2 quart slow cooker. Layer medallions in the slow cooker, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Medallions will fall apart when they are moved with a fork.

Without draining any liquid, use a fork to pull-apart pork tenderloin medallions. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and stir. Add your favorite barbecue sauce to the mixture until its flavor-consistency is to your liking. I add more than half of a bottle of Jack Daniel's Honey Smokehouse Barbecue Sauce (19 oz.) to the pork tenderloin and then serve with additional sauce on the side.

Serve on lightly buttered and toasted or grilled chewy rolls. Top with pickles or your favorite coleslaw. Yes, topped with your favorite coleslaw! Or you can be boring, and serve it on the side.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bird Stories

A robin's nest hidden within the climbing hydrangea

Birds have been on my mind the past few days. Go figure. Over the weekend while I was biding my time with the flu on the sofa, I watched a mama and daddy Blue Jay going back and forth to a nest they had made in the crook of a hickory tree that's in our back yard. I couldn't believe their activity. It was amazing to me. I realized they were feeding nestlings because you could actually watch them carrying worms as they flew to the nest. I didn't notice any activity yesterday which left me a little bit concerned. After all, I had witnessed an American Crow hanging out in the woods just beneath the nest the day before. After closer inspection, I found the nest was in disarray and the nestlings were gone. According to my bird book, American Crows feed on other birds' eggs and nestlings. It's always a sad event for us bird lovers. I suspect this sad little couple will find another place and try again.

However, see that beautiful picture up top? That was taken last spring. It was hidden quite well in the climbing hydrangea which grows up a trellis on our back patio. I snuck in and took a couple of pictures while she was away. Unfortunately, the next day the nest was empty. This time, instead of being invaded by a crow, this nest was invaded by a Blue Jay. Sometimes what goes around, comes around.

Incredibly, the robin is back again this year and has just started building another nest in the same climbing hydrangea...only on the opposite side of the trellis. We watched her building the nest today while we sat outside and had lunch. I am amazed at their ability to make such a beautiful dwelling place with just straw, grass, twigs and mud. Did you notice how perfectly round their nests are? In the meantime, we'll keep an eye on invaders as best we can. I'm just hoping I can sit at my dining room table and not get dive-bombed!

Here we have another bird nest. This one was built just outside my office window. To keep her from flying away every time someone walked into the room, we taped a big piece of cardboard across the window, but left a little slit where we could watch without her knowing. It was a very cool experience for all of us. It made for great Show and Tell whenever company arrived. Can you guess what bird these beautiful eggs belong to?

One perfectly speckled camouflaged egg

There were four eggs in all...two of them had just hatched when I took this picture

And here are two nestlings...look at their little pin feathers

These are Cardinals! I was astonished to watch the mother and father taking turns watching the nest and feeding them. They worked together as a team. The day I saw a crow perched on the big Hemlock tree right next to the nest, I ran outside and scared it off. Yes, I was the hero for the day and these little nestlings survived. When it was time to leave the nest, the father Cardinal was in the Hemlock while the mother Cardinal was on a branch in the tree just a foot or so away from the nest. She slowly coaxed the nestlings to the side of the nest, then to the branch, then to the Hemlock where Daddy was waiting!

What a lesson for all human parents. That is precisely why both of our children are going to camp this year. It will be their first time away from home (Caleb for two weeks and Rachel for one week) and it will be our first time at home without them. I am certain we will have a much harder time at it than they will! I look at this as the branch near the nest test for Mama. After all, college isn't too far off and I don't know where that will take them. Although they have asked if they can take college from know, home college. Uh, no.

Here's my last bird picture. Promise! This, my friends, is a Turkey Vulture. I'm sorry I couldn't get a better picture, but this is across the street at our neighbor's house. I've never seen them do this before...there were five males roosting on the roof while a female was perched in a tree in the woods. This big ugly bird, on the peak of the roof, moved out to the edge, turned around, and spread his wings, all six feet of them, to the sun. Did he ever shimmer! I'm sure Miss Lady Turkey Vulture thought he was quite handsome! Doesn't he look like a hood ornament? Or should I say a house ornament?!

May all your bird stories be pleasant ones!

P.S. I will get back to the job story soon!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Enjoy Today!

I had a diversion yesterday. Had I been on a flight to the west coast and found myself diverted to say, Hawaii, or some place fun, I wouldn't have minded. But this was a diversion I didn't like. Not one little bit.

I had a touch of the flu over the weekend. It started Friday night, but I felt much better by Sunday afternoon. I hardly ever get sick, let alone catch the flu, so I just hung out and did my time. Monday was a new day and I felt fine. Until Monday evening. My left shoulder and arm started hurting. And yesterday when I woke-up, it actually felt worse. I also had a cough that developed from the flu. I made an appointment to see my family doctor early in the afternoon. Because of the continued shoulder and arm pain, they ran an EKG. Everything came back fine.

As the day progressed, however, the pain worsened. By 8 o'clock last night, the pain in my arm was so bad my fingers were numb. I had pain radiating in my jaw, felt sick to my stomach and broke out in a cold sweat. With the exception of pain in my chest, I pretty much had every classic symptom of a heart attack. I called my sister-in-love, who is a nurse, and she urged me to go straight to the ER.

I will pause here for a moment and just let you know that while I appreciate doctors and all they do, I have not had many good experiences with them over the years. They seem to screw-up on me just about every time I have an encounter with one. While I'll save it for another time, my favorite is the ER doctor who, over 14 years ago, told me I was faking "it" and then told my husband he could have me moved to another hospital if we didn't like her diagnosis. And he did just that. Hours later, it was discovered that at eleven weeks gestation, I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, with twins, and almost bled to death. My Caleb, the only child to ever survive such circumstances, miraculously survived.

So I found myself at the ER last night. They immediately did an EKG which also came back fine. All the blood work came back fine. The doctor said that because I had had the symptoms for over 24 hours, they were sure if it was heart related something would have shown-up in the blood work. The doctor told me that I had less than a 1% chance of having a heart issue. I thought that was an interesting number he threw out there. It certainly made me feel better about my situation. My husband and I arrived back home about 2 o'clock this morning.

I'm just chillin' today. Layin' low. Thankful to be home and feeling a little better.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Psalm 139:1-6 God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. It is more profitable to meditate on Divine truths, applying them to our own cases, and with hearts lifted to God in prayer, than with a curious or disputing frame of mind. That God knows all things, is omniscient; that he is every where, is omnipresent; are truths acknowledged by all, yet they are seldom rightly believed in by mankind. God takes strict notice of every step we take, every right step and every by step. He knows what rule we walk by, what end we walk toward, what company we walk with. When I am withdrawn from all company, thou knowest what I have in my heart. There is not a vain word, not a good word, but thou knowest from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. Wherever we are, we are under the eye and hand of God. We cannot by searching find how God searches us out; nor do we know how we are known. Such thoughts should restrain us from sin.

Enjoy today!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weeds and Yours Truly

Do you see them? Trust me, they're there.

The other day we were talking about the kids wanting to get a job this summer. That conversation lead to rabbit trails of thoughts in my own mind. I was thinking about many of the jobs I've had over my life. I was taught the importance of work at a very early age.

This could make for a very interesting entry. Here goes...

One of the earliest jobs I can remember was getting paid twenty-five cents (that's right, $.25, not $25!) to fill a 5-gallon bucket full of rocks from the garden. That was a long time ago. I knew even then that twenty-five cents was not a lot of money for such a hard and dirty job. There were no known child labor laws at our house. I did the job and hated every minute of it. I suppose the only other job I hated more when I was a little girl was pulling weeds from the garden. I didn't get paid for that job.

Pause here...

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate bugs? And snakes? And spiders? Guess where they lived? Yes, that's right. In the garden. And they are attracted to 5-gallon buckets and little curly-haired blond girls. I can still see me standing in the middle of the garden hysterically screaming and crying. It never got me out of work. Nope, not once.

OK, now that you really feel sorry for me, here's some more stuff...

My father woke me up most mornings at 4 a.m. to make his breakfast which consisted of 6 to 8 fried eggs and buttered toast. He didn't eat again until he came home for dinner, 12 to 14 hours later. I was paid $1 each day I made him breakfast. I remember feeling guilty if by chance there was a broken egg since he should only have the "good" eggs. I would often eat the broken egg. I was very happy to do this since I loved my daddy so much. When he drove down our long driveway to head into work, it was still dark outside. I would flick the front porch lights three times to say, "I love you!" and he would flash the head lights of his car three times to tell me he loved me too.

I have always had a love for horses. I wanted one terribly when I was 10. My father told me if I could pay for the food, I could have a horse. I got a job delivering newspapers. I walked. I rode my bicycle. I pulled a wagon on Wednesdays when the paper was a bigger edition. Sometimes I rode my horse. One time I delivered Christmas Day newspapers in wrapping paper and a bow. My father would often drive me on my route early on Sunday mornings. He would let me drive the car home...all by myself. Come on now, we lived in the country. Newspapers were $1.10 a week. If memory serves me correctly, I had about 52 customers. I don't know how much money I made. I just remember always having a pocket-full of change and riding my bicycle to a tiny little convenience store and spending it on candy and beef sticks.

I babysat a few times. I should never have been allowed to babysit. I didn't like kids. I didn't know anything about them. And I didn't know what to do with them. But I needed a job and babysitting jobs were everywhere. I have this terrible memory of reading the classified ads and calling a woman about a full-time babysitting job for her four kids. I don't know how old I was. Maybe 13. The woman was so desperate, she came and picked me up that day and drove me to her house. She lived in a big old house. She had four filthy children and a flea-infested dog. And a flea-infested house. I didn't know what to do with the kids (although I must have done something), but I knew how to clean. And I cleaned that filthy house and washed laundry. Oh, when I think of it, chills run down my spine. I'm pretty sure I babysat for this lady the entire summer. This was the first year I had to buy all of my own school clothes.

I worked at a pizza shop the summer I turned 16. I passed out cold on my first day. I just remember the manager walking through this big hot kitchen and the next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and there were all these people standing around me staring. She sent me home. I worked there for sometime and never had the opportunity to pass out again. Although finding a huge pig's tooth in the bulk sausage just about did me in. I left shortly after that.

I worked at a jewelry store. I must have been 16 or 17. It was in the winter. I remember having to take a polygraph test. When I finished taking the test, this old bald man sitting across the desk asked me if I was an angel. I got the job. I liked that job, by the way.

My first real job out of high school was working for a law firm as a secretary. I rode a bus downtown. Weird people often rode buses. I can't believe my parents made me take a bus. I could type 120 words per minute, you know. In my early days of employment, I didn't know proper phone etiquette and would often say, "yay" instead of "yes" when speaking to an important client. "Is Mr. So-in-so available?" they'd ask. "Yep, hang on," I'd answer. Terrible. The senior partner called me in his office one day and handed me a little book on how to answer a phone properly. Poor guy. To my credit, I was very, very teachable and learned quickly. And I did learn and became a highly coveted legal secretary by the time I left. When I turned in my resignation a few years later, another one of the senior partners called me in his office and told me if I stayed, they would pay for me to go to college and send me to law school. I didn't even think about it. I told him no. It was after I left this job I took that vacation to Cancun. By myself.

We'll stop here where it appears as though I must be the most stupid person living on the planet. Who on earth would turn down an offer like that? That would be me. Yours truly.

More on this tomorrow. Maybe.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quick Homemade Salsa

This was my first attempt at growing tomato plants, upside down, in galvanized buckets. I'll make some minor adjustments this year. We aren't allowed to have a garden in the front yard and the backyard is completely shaded. What do you do? Grow them in pretty buckets in the front yard! By the way, see that beautiful stick? My Caleb made that just for me to support my very heavy tomato plants!

I made this recipe just this morning while the kids were working on math. It's quick and easy and the flavors are absolutely fabulous. Everyone here likes it because it's somewhat smooth. No chunks to chew. Besides slurping salsa on a tortilla chip is fun. We only slurp in the privacy of our own home. Mostly.

Now there's a reason why there aren't fresh tomatoes in this recipe. First, this recipe starts with the word quick, and second, fresh tomatoes in this part of the world at this time of year are, well, horrible. Honestly, I don't know how grocers get away with selling them as tomatoes. If you happen to live in a place where a tomato looks like a tomato, smells like a tomato, and tastes like a tomato, good for you. Use all fresh ingredients and change the name of this recipe to Homemade Salsa or Fresh Homemade Salsa or I'm so Lucky I Live in Place that has Fresh Tomatoes Year Round Salsa. Or something like that.

Last time I made this, my Rachel dug in and absolutely loved it. We enjoy slurping together! After we had eaten the salsa together a couple of different times, I was caught off guard when she read the recipe and said, "This has tomatoes in it?" I kid you not. "What do you think that red stuff is, Honey?" I just love that girl!

Quick Homemade Salsa

What you will need:

1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can Ro-tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Old El Paso Jalapeno slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 lime, juiced

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until almost smooth. If you like your salsa a little chunkier, don't process it as long. Makes about 5 cups.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sew Amazing!

Notice the basting... Notice the quilted heart and square...
Notice the crooked pins... Mrs. Nagy told me that's a no-no

Finished! You have to look closely to see the quilted squares and hearts

Notice the bottom edge and the tiny little blind hem stitch

Michelle's Magnum Opus

Do you remember Big Dreamin'? I posted it only a week ago. Mrs. Nagy started to teach me how to hand quilt. And I've been a busy girl. During our get together yesterday, she taught me how to finish the edges and create mitered corners. I must say, it's a beautiful thing...quilting.

Drum roll please...

I finished my little hand quilting
project this afternoon!

Can I say that I am so proud of myself? You know, me, the one who can't spell sew and can hardly sew a button on a shirt! I made a mini-quilt. I stitched every single stitch with my own two hands.

I believe this is big enough news that perhaps this very night you'll see me featured on the Evening News. The news feed will say something like, "Sew Amazing--It's a Miracle!"

Me sew?
Me sew and stick with it?
Me sew and like it?
Me sew and love it?
Me sew and finish a project?
Me sew and finish a project in seven days?

I have learned, finally, that there's something to be said about creating a thing of beauty with my own two hands. Something that will last. Something I can pass down to my children. My Big Dreamin' is a little closer to reality.

I absolutely love quilting!

Can't wait to start the next one...something a little bigger perhaps. Perhaps!

Your humble blogger,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Grow Where You're Planted

I love that little saying, "Grow where you're planted." Since it's springtime and there are lots of beautiful things growing everywhere, I thought it would be fun to share some photos I captured today while walking around our property.




Wild blue violet

The flower we all love to hate, the dandelion

Japanese Peony Tree bud (see profile pic)

Snowball Viburnum buds

Bleeding Heart



Climbing Hydrangeas


Serviceberry tree blossoms

Flowering myrtle

Daffodil, home for a little spider

I love different varieties of butterfly bushes, roses, hostas, daylillies, as well as my all-time favorite, the every size, shape and color. Hence, the blog header! To bury one's nose inside these huge blossoms, well, is a tiny piece of Heaven.

Enjoy the beauty of God's magnificent creation!