Wednesday, May 31, 2017

June To-Do's

Beautiful peony.  Looked lonely at the garden center - brought it home.  : )

June tomorrow.  My goodness.  Here is your list, ladies, on what should be done around the house  this month (there are a couple where you may have to enlist some help):

*weatherstrip doors/windows - just as important in the summer as the winter
*patch any concrete sidewalks
*regrade your foundation - for those summer rains that won't end up in the basement
*refinish/paint any furniture
*restock your first aid kit for the car and home
*clean out the gutters - we have so many "dirty" trees around here with those small seeds
*let as much fresh air in as you can
*change your furnace filter 
*check caulking outdoors
*keep up with weeding

I thought for sure by now the soup and stew recipes would be tucked away until next Fall, but yesterday was so cloudy and cool, I couldn't help making our favorite oven beef stew:


Put 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. stew beef into a 2 quart casserole.  Add 1 medium onion, chopped, 3-4 carrots, 3-4 potatoes, cut in chunks, 4-5 stalks of celery, chopped.

Combine 2 cans of Golden Mushroom soup, 1 can of water or beef broth, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a bit of Kitchen Bouquet for color.

Pour this over the beef and vegetables and mix well.

Bake, covered, in a 200 degree oven for 5 hours.  Nice and slow - this makes the house smell really good.  : )  Then enjoy.

I doubt if we'll have many more cool-ish days but just in case.......

That's it for today.  Thank you for dropping by.  I appreciate your visit.  God bless.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Blessed Memorial Day

Just a few ideas for Memorial Day:

*Let your kids or grandkids go with you to the cemetery and put flowers on a grave site.  My husband I were talking about how the "younger generation" really isn't all that interested in paying tribute to those who have passed before us.  This is a chance to show our children that it stills matters and that it's a very respectful thing to do.

*Go on a picnic.  Memorial Day weekend kind of kicks off the summer.  Doing something a little different is a nice change.  For some children school is over already, but for others they still have a week or so left, so make this day a special one.  Even if you haven't really prepared for a picnic, it doesn't have to be anything fancy.  Just packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is fun when they're eaten someplace else.  And don't let the rain stop you.  Park somewhere pretty and eat in the car!

*Take out all the old photos today and go through them as a family.  You can re-create some good memories.  Make it enjoyable.  Pop some popcorn and sit down and pass the photos around and see how many of you can remember something special about the people you're looking at.  

*Take in a memorial service somewhere in your town.  They often have speakers and music and it can be very moving.

*Visit an old cemetery.  Surprisingly, old gravestones can be very interesting.  Some have some interesting information on them.  Notice the dates.  While on vacation once we came across an old cemetery in the middle of a wooded area.  It was sad because they were all children that had died in the 1917 flu epidemic.  

Whatever it is you find to do, I do hope that you can enjoy the day.  For some, it's a day of remembering what was lost and there is no joy in that, but maybe you can lighten the burden in some way.  

God bless.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Afternoon

Again, remember those who lost their lives for our freedoms.

I know I've said it in past posts, but this has been a difficult year.  I suppose I could go further back than that, but this past year stands out.  Lots of changes, lots of heartache, lots of strained relationships. Through it all was the talking to God about it.  It's called prayer, but really prayer is talking to God.  It doesn't have to be from a prayer book or the same prayer over and over again.  Just talk.  As you would a good friend.  There is no irreverence in that.  Emmanuel - God with us.  He is with us every day.  He knows our every thought, He knows our every worry, He knows our frustrations, He knows our fears, He knows..............everything.   And there is great comfort in that.  

In this life, people let me down.  Maybe because I have this need for people to be fair and honest and truthful.  It seems so easy here at home being a homemaker because it's just the three of us and we know each other and we (somewhat) understand each other.  It's when I get "out there" among others that I'm tested.  Maybe it depends upon what kind of day I'm having but the tests are sometimes easy and then others are difficult.  That's when I need to talk to God in prayer.

I don't understand dishonesty.  I don't understand lies.  In my younger days, before salvation, I learned VERY quickly how dishonesty and lies ALWAYS come back to haunt you.   One of the things we should be praying for our children and grandchildren is that they would always be caught if they're doing something they shouldn't be doing.  What a gift that would be to them!  They would (hopefully) learn that it doesn't pay to try and hide things from others and how it can be detrimental to their relationships with others.  

God created us.  He created our personalities.  He know what makes us tick.  He's gifted us with certain abilities and talents.  He knows our weaknesses.  He knows our strengths.  Again - He knows...........everything.  That is so very good to know and remember.  It should keep us on the right path but when it doesn't He's there to talk to about it and bring us back to where we should be.

We cannot be self-reliant, we can only rely on God.  So, the struggles of the past year continues, but He KNOWS.

May God bless you and encourage you in your walk of faith.  Talk with Him today - He's waiting. 

HE KNOWS by Jeremy Camp
All the bitter weary ways
Endless striving day by day
You barely have the strength to pray
In the valley low
And how hard your fight has been
How deep the pain within
Wounds that no one else has seen
Hurts too much to show
All the doubt you're standing in between
And all the weight that brings you to your knees
He knows
He knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
He knows
He knows
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
Who knows
He knows
We may faint and we may sink
Feel the pain and near the brink
But the dark begins to shrink
When you find the one who knows
The chains of doubt that held you in between
One by one are starting to break free
He knows
He knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
He knows
He knows

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Slow Cooked Pork Chops

Again, forgive me if I've posted this recipe already.  But it's a quick and easy one that is very flavorful.  And I love slow cooker recipes especially in the summer when I don't want to go into the kitchen early to prepare supper.  Here it goes:


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 pork loin chops (make sure these are the thick chops and I always use boneless)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 can of cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/3 cup water

1.  In a ziplock bag, combine the flour, salt, mustard, and garlic powder.

2.  Dredge the pork chops.

3.  In a skillet, brown the chops in the vegetable oil on both sides until golden brown.

look at that yummy-ness.  : )

4.  Place the chops in the slow cooker.

5.  Combine the soup with the water and mix well.

6.  Pour this over the chops in the slow cooker; cover and cook on Low for 6 - 8 hours or till meat is tender.

*  This makes REALLY good pan juices (gravy).  You can use it as is or thicken it if you'd like to use it over potatoes.  I have served this with rice (pictured above) or potatoes and is excellent.  I think you will see that this could easily be a company meal.  The meat is so tender.  With the thick pork chops it's almost like having a little pork roast on your plate.  I hope you can try it sometime and I do hope you like it as much as we do.  : )

Well, yesterday was another busy day (which, for me, is a good thing).  On Thursday, we went to the garden center to buy plants and plantings to put in today.

And then yesterday, we bought a few more (but forgot to take a picture of those).  We're trying to fill in the yard with a LOT more perennials as the years go by.  And then we're trying to find perennials that the bunnies won't eat!  The greenhouse we went to on Thursday actually had a whole area (with a sign above it) that was actually devoted to plantings that were "bunny-proof."  : )  So, obviously, we aren't the only ones who are having a problem with this.  Early this morning while I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I was looking out of the kitchen window into the backyard and I saw one of these cute little bunnies go from pot to pot (as we had set them around the yard to see what they would look like in certain areas).  He would get up on his hind legs, sniff the plant, thankfully left it alone, and moved on to the others.  He left them alone!  It worked!  I tell you, I was in my p.j.'s but was ready to run out of the house if I saw him nibbling!  

If you're having the same problem, here is a list of what we bought that seems to be doing the trick (so far):


*Bee Balm
*Lamb's Ears
*Redtwig dogwood

There are others, but we didn't buy everything!  So, this is our job today.  The weather is suppose to be beautiful again today, so I'm looking forward to getting these put into place and we can enjoy them for the rest of the summer.  : )

Here are just a few pictures of what I did yesterday:

this hanging basket was so pretty, I couldn't resist.

I had heard for years that rabbits don't like marigolds.  It's not true.  So, to try and outwit them, I planted them in a couple of my radio flyer wagons and put a cage over the top.  : )

this barrel has a geranium in it plus a few herbs - thyme, apple mint, sage, and oregano.  The peony beside it is getting ready to bloom - it's one of my most favorite flowers.  : )

That's pretty much all I did yesterday so our work is cut out for us today.  I'm looking forward to it.  Thank you so much for dropping by for a visit.  I really do appreciate it.  I only wish I could see you in person and sit out under the shade of the apple tree with a cup of tea.  : )

Have a wonderful day and upcoming weekend and may God bless you.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Oven Baked Chow Mein

We have our favorite slow cooked chow mein that I make once in a while, but I came across this recipe a long time ago and have always wanted to give it a try.  I made if for tonight's supper and we really liked it, so one more recipe to keep in the box!  Here it is:


1 lb. ground beef
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup rice, uncooked
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or make your own)
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped (I just put sliced ones in w/o the chopping)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
Chow mein noodles

In a skillet brown ground beef with the celery, green pepper, and onion.  Drain.

Add the rest of the ingredients except for chow mein noodles.  Mix well.

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Cover with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Plate up and put chow mein noodles on top (if you'd like).  Enjoy!!

It has been a day of being out and about, so my energy is just about gone for the day.  Before the busy-ness of the Memorial Day weekend begins we thought we'd take flowers to the grave of my uncle:

my dad's brother.  While we were there (the National Cemetery in Minnesota) there were already a lot  of people honoring these men and women who selflessly went into war so that we can (still) enjoy our freedom.  Some just looking and staring at the gravestones.  Some kneeling and some sitting.  But all quiet.   Thinking, missing, praying.  Please remember those who fought, those who came home altered by what they saw and did, those who lost their lives in the battle and those who will not come back.  Even if you don't know of anyone, how nice would it be to take something and put it beside a gravestone that didn't have anything beside it?  We say "lest we forget" but we do don't we?  How about adopting a grave this weekend as a way to say "thank you for your service?"  Just a thought. 

Good night to you and God bless.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pasta and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I'm trying to get my creative juices flowing when it comes to using things up around here.  I had a small carton of grape tomatoes that were getting a little wrinkled.  Not pleasant enough to slice on a salad, but I couldn't throw them.  I found this recipe on-line, gave it a try, and we REALLY liked it for a side dish at this evening's meal:

Put your grape tomatoes in a small bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Toss with a couple cloves of minced garlic and a small onion that has been diced.  Mix well so everything is coated.  Place on a foil-lined pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes.

Mmmmmmmmm.................. : )

I boiled some angel hair pasta, drained it, poured in a little canola oil to separate the pasta, and then put the tomatoes with the onions and garlic in.  I also seasoned it with a little salt and freshly ground pepper and grated a little Parmesan cheese in.  Give it a good stir and serve!  It's a nice and light addition to a meal.  It went great with the salmon patties.  Hope you give it a try and see what you think.

That's it for today.  Short and sweet.  : )  Thank you for stopping by!  

God bless.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Spam and Eggs

Spam.  Not everyone likes Spam.  We do and I usually have a can or two in my pantry.  We don't eat it often because it's quite high in sodium (and we're not crazy about the low-sodium one).  But tonight I wanted to use things up.  I had a few eggs left, a little cheese, an onion, some bread slices, a couple of oranges.  So the menu was:

Spam and eggs
Toast with jam
Fresh oranges slices

Here is how I prepared the eggs:

Saute' one onion, chopped, and 2 cloves of garlic in 2 Tbsp. of butter until softened and the onions are a little brown around the edges.  Add 1 can of Spam, cut into chunks and saute' until lightly browned.

Add 8 eggs that have been scrambled with 1/4 cup milk and stir until eggs are set. Take off the heat and sprinkle a little shredded Cheddar cheese on top.  Cover and let sit until cheese becomes all melty.  (I use this time to make the toast and peel the oranges)  This will serve 4.


Thank you for your visit.  God bless.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Morning

It is SO green around here from the constant rains we've been getting.  The above picture is from a few years ago up north.  The bright spot in the middle and off to the side is called the sun shining (something we haven't seen for a while).  : )  I'm a person who really doesn't mind the rain.  It sometimes matches the mood I'm in.

Again, I've been looking back at the past week actually beginning with last Saturday.  The weekend began with the memorial service of a friend.  When someone dies who is your age, it kind of throws you for a loop (it did for me anyway).  It's a reminder that God numbers our days and we really don't know when that day is.  It could be today for me or tomorrow or next month or next year or ten years from now.  Whatever that number is, we all need to be assured of where we're going when it happens. That blessed assurance that Jesus is mine and I am His.  We know our friend was in Christ and he happens to be with the Lord right now and THAT is reassuring.  

And then Sunday was Mother's Day and that is always a sad day for me and it showed.  I miss my mom and my mother-in-law and I miss being a mom.  Yes, we have an adult son, but it's very different from the days of raising him.  The fun and the laughter.  It's still good but I can't think of any other word than different. There are more serious issues now. Adult issues. Health concerns, an upcoming marriage in the Fall (which is a happy thing - don't get me wrong),  unemployment.  Each of these things are huge.  And I have to remember that God loves him more than I do (which is amazing because in my heart that 6' 2", 200 lb. grown man is still my baby and that mother love is still very much there).  So......I trust that God will see him through all the huge stuff.

The rest of the week wasn't anything out of the usual.  The work, the getting to things that needed our attention, just pretty much a typical week - with a note of sadness in and through it all.  I think I'm noticing more the breakdown of our society and it's concerning to me.  The rudeness of people, the "me first" attitudes, the lack of care, the lack of empathy, the lack of self-control, the "anything goes" culture, the "in-your-face" stuff that drives me crazy and it also drives me to my knees.  A while back, our pastor said that we need "the compassion of Christ" and the "outrage of Christ."  We need to look around at the needs of others and try to help in some way and we also need to look around at the awful stuff that is allowed to go on and try to change it.

It requires some soul-searching.  What am I willing to do to make the changes that need to be done? When my son gets married, I'm hoping that grandchildren will follow but what is this world going to be like while they're growing up?  If it's bad now, good grief.  What does the future hold?  Can I really make a difference?  If these things truly bother me and I know in my heart that they truly bother God according to what is written in the Bible, don't I have some responsibility while here on earth to try and help?  Truly a LOT to think about.  A lot to pray about.  

I found this article the other night that I wanted to share with you.  It's from Peter Marshall, who was a chaplain of the United States Senate from 1947 - 1949:

"The choice before us is plain:  Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration.  I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American citizens.  The time is come - it is now - when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship.  America's future depends upon her accepting and demonstrating God's government."

I guess that's what I'm trying to get to.  Yes, we have rights and privileges as U.S. citizens, but we also have duties and responsibilities.  God is the one who created government.  It was established by Him.  It's clearly written out in God's word what is expected of us.  Are we willing to stand up and voice our concerns?  Everything is permissible in this world, but not everything is acceptable and that's what's been going on.  Now everything is permissible AND acceptable.  And it shouldn't be.

So, I have a lot of thinking to do.  And a lot of praying to do.  Knowing that I have a duty and a responsibility to make a difference, what will that look like?  What will that look like for you?  

God bless your Sabbath. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Maybe.....Just Something Pretty To Look At

I'm SO tired of the news.  I really can't watch any of it.  It seems like we're falling apart at the seams. In my prayer time the other morning, I asked the Lord for a time of refreshing. 

So that's when going through some of our photos, it gave me an idea of posting something pretty to look at in the midst of the not so pretty.  It won't make anything go away, but it maybe it softens the edges a bit.  See if you can feel the warmth of the sun, the smell of the flowers, the lapping of the waves, the beauty of the clouds, the awesomeness of God's creation.

There.  I think I feel a little better now.  : )  Hope you enjoyed looking at them too.  Thank you for stopping by - I always appreciate a visit from you.   God bless.