Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You Gotta Have Faith....

Especially when you are a care giver.  You have to have faith that the Lord will not give you more than you can handle.  You've got to have faith that you are stronger than you believe yourself to be.  You've got to have faith that when the person you care for leaves you they go onto a better place where there is no pain or illness or confusion. Where they are embraced by God and made whole once again.  You Gotta Have Faith.

My niece, Natasha, who lives in California, made and sent me this beautiful sign that hangs proudly in my living room to remind me that You Gotta Have Faith.  You can learn why she chose to bless me with this at my earlier post.

Today is One Word Wednesday and our word case you haven't Faith.  Please visit here to find out more about One Word Wednesday hosted by my friend Lisa Moles.

This is an especially poignant word this week since our mutual friend, Paula, just lost her husband for whom she had been a caregiver.  We all are caregivers to our spouses but it takes on a different meaning when that spouse, who always walked by your side and returned care back to you, is no longer able to be the life partner you once had.  Or when a parent, who was your caregiver for so many years is now in a position to need to be given care.  Or when a child who is supposed to grow up and away from you as you give him care will always require a care giver.  These are the times that require faith.  These are the times that you need to rely on the Lord to see you through.  Because otherwise you would despair.....and that is a dark, lonely place to be. 

Some of us have found comfort in sharing our journey at One Word Wednesday.  We find support and hugs, laughter and prayers.  We find a community of caregivers who are just taking it one day at a time and maintaining their faith.  Please stop by and share your journey with us.

Some say Tomato, Some say Tomahto, I say Winner!!!

Back on July 13th I entered a giveaway hosted by Heather at It's Yummy to My Tummy.  Heather is part of our Secret Recipe Club community.  SRC is the bomb!!!  Not only is it fun.  Not only do you have access to thousands of great recipes.  It is filled with a bunch of the nicest bloggers you would ever want to meet.  The love and support oozes off their pages.  This morning I learned that I had won the giveaway that was sponsored by Red Gold Tomatoes.  I am very excited....this is the second giveaway, hosted by members of SRC that I have been honored to win.  You can learn about the first one here.

And here is the package that I won.
Thanks again, Red Gold, Heather and Beautiful Assistant.
You really need to check out Heather's blog if only to get your heart melted when you see her Beautiful Assistant, but as long as you are there you may as well take a gander at some of her fantastic recipes!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bittersweet Tuesday....

The original title of this post was going to be Sweet Tuesday but just prior to posting it I went to my friend, Paula's, blog over at Smidgens, Snippets and Bits and learned that her husband had lost his battle with Parkinson's Disease last night.  Paula posted a beautiful music video in tribute to her husband Richard. Please stop by her blog and offer your support during this very difficult time.

I changed the title to Bittersweet Tuesday because while Paula was busy preparing for a final goodbye as a life ended, I was again busy today preparing for a life to come into our world.  And so goes the circle of life.

We were originally going to attend the 4H Fair today but Teaghyn had a birthday party to attend so Dawn is getting her tomorrow and we will go to the Fair.  Since that was cancelled, I knew that Frank was taking his Mom out for lunch today so Spence and I joined them.  While we were out, we stopped at Miles Cake and Candy Supply and bought some colored chocolate and some cute molds containing little baby items.  After another stop to see my Mom we came home and Spence and I started making candies for the shower.

Spence is very serious about his work.
Making candy in molds is easy but very time consuming.

The molds had 5 different objects and we used 4 different colors of chocolate.

While we were playing with the candy, Kim called and asked if she could come by and drop off Ting and Tony's shower gift as she is leaving to work a 3 day trip tomorrow and will not get home until late on Saturday night.  Kim's cousin, Anna, has been visiting with her this week so they both came over for a dip in the pool and to join us for dinner.

No, the heater is not fixed yet but it was a really hot day out there today.

Kim and Anna relaxed for a few minutes while I went in and started our dinner for tonight.  We had a new recipe for Try it Tuesday that also incorporated my Year of Pizza Challenge.  It was a very quick recipe adapted from this one that I found on Cooking Classy.  

I used a mixture of Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash.

Halve the squash lengthwise and take out the center seeded portion.
If the squash boats are large you can halve them again if you choose.

Fill the cavities with pizza sauce.
Sprinkle with cheese.

Top each with a pepperoni that has been quartered.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil leaves.

Bake in a 350* degree oven or on a gas grill over med heat with the lid shut for 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.  I could have given mine another 5 minutes or so on the grill so adjust your time as needed.

Summer Squash Pizza Boats
adapted from Cooking Classy

8-10 small zucchini and yellow summer squash
1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce
2 c. shredded Mozzarella Cheese
16-20 pepperoni slices, quartered
Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped 

Halve the squash lengthwise and remove seeds and spongy inner portion with a spoon.  Place squash on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper.  ( I did not do this and I was sorry when it was clean up  time.) Fill each squash cavity with pizza sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Quarter one pepperoni slice per squash boat and place on top of cheese.  Sprinkle boats with fresh chopped basil and bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.  Print Recipe

Monday, July 21, 2014

Is it still Monday? is only 7:30 at night and we have completed 3 days worth of chores and running around.  I am very happy to finally be sitting in my chair with my feet up on the ottoman and an icy cold glass of water on the end table.

I had a rough night last night, I awoke at 3 with a bad stomach.  I finally fell back to sleep around 6 and slept until 9:30  I got up and got right to work because, in case you haven't heard, I AM HAVING A BABY SHOWER IN 5 DAYS!!

I am sure that you are all sick to death of hearing about my gardens but I just have to tell you this.....Spence and I went and bought 30 bags of mulch on Friday.  That is a lot of mulch to load and unload into a truck.  It is a lot of mulch to spread in you gardens.  Your back aches, sweat runs into your eyes, your knees hurt, you get dirty and stinky.  It sucks!!  Do you want to know how much 30 bags is in this yard???

It filled this garden.

And this garden.
Except for the area that contained a ground hornet nest.
They did not wish to be disturbed by the mulch.
I always show great respect to things that can cause me pain!!

And this garden.
And a tiny bit of the area by my pig.
That is 3 gardens out of 10.
I probably need another 80 bags of mulch.
I have no idea what I was thinking when I put in all of these gardens.
And that is with us taking out the gardens around the gazebo this year.
I don't think all the gardens are getting completed by the shower.

After having all that fun....I fell into the pool, unheated pool....because the part will not be here until Wednesday.  Just the fact that I would stick a toe into an unheated pool gives you some idea how hot, sticky and miserable I was.  While I allowed myself to air dry. Spence went for a little spin on the 4 wheeler as a reward for all of his wonderful help.

Isn't he a handsome guy!!

Frank got home and we started cleaning out the garage.  It is good for us to have parties every once in a while so that we are motivated to do these chores that we hate.  This is what we had to deal with when we started.

Yes this is the third stall in our garage.
There is a motorcycle parked there somewhere.

Pretty overwhelming, isn't it?

We weren't sure where to even start.  So we just started pulling stuff out and putting it in the driveway.
We sorted it as we went into piles according to where they needed to go.  The piles were trash, donation, back in the garage, put away elsewhere.  As we were working on this, Tingting came over (God bless her) and needed me to go shopping with her for shower stuff.  So we left Frank to finish up the garage and we went to the dollar store, stopped to see Mom, another dollar store, Joann's, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Party City and Krogers.  When we got back, Ting was exhausted and promptly fell asleep.

Frank got quite a bit done in the garage.

It still needs some work but at least now we can walk through it without feeling like we are in an obstacle course.  Frank finally called it quits and hopped in the shower and I started dinner.  

My original meal on the Weekly Menu was Pasta with Spinach Pesto, Corn and Beans that I had found in Cuisine at Home, Issue #46.  But when I went to make it and looked in my larder I changed out Chard for the Spinach, Peas for the Beans, Bowtie Pasta for the Pappardelle, Red Wine Vinegar for the White Wine Vinegar and Mozzarella Cheese for the Ricotta Cheese.  I also followed my own recipe for the pesto using half Swiss Chard and half Basil.  That is the wonderful thing about recipes....they are merely a guideline and an idea giver and then you do whatever you want to make it your own.  My nephew, Jake, had stopped by and joined us for dinner.  He wasn't so sure about this meal when he sat down but he ended up loving it....we all did....and I think you and your family will too.

I shredded fresh Mozzarella Cheese so that it would melt evenly when mixed with the hot pasta and vegetables.

I cooked the pasta according to package directions adding the peas and corn when there was 7 minutes of cooking time remaining.

While the pasta and vegetables were cooking I diced up and dressed the tomatoes.

A perfect Meatless Monday dinner using seasonal and local vegetables.

Pasta with Swiss Chard Pesto, Corn and Peas
inspired by Cuisine at Home, Issue #46

1 bunch Swiss Chard, leaves only, chopped
1 bunch basil, leaves only
1/2 c. pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
Olive Oil
Lemon zest and juice from 1/4 of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. Bowtie Pasta
1 c. grated fresh Mozzarella cheese
Kernels from 2 large ears of corn
1 c.  fresh peas, shelled
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan Cheese
3 small tomatoes, diced
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil

Place Chard leaves, Basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, lemon zest and lemon juice into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  With processor running drizzle in the olive oil until desired consistency.  For this dish I chose to make it a paste-like consistency. Set aside.  The lemon juice will keep the pesto vibrant.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  When there is approx. 7 minutes of cooking time remaining add the peas and corn to the cooking water and allow to cook with the pasta.  While the pasta and vegetables cook.  Grate fresh Mozzarella Cheese into the bottom of your serving dish.

Place diced tomatoes in a bowl, add the vinegar and oil, season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When Pasta and Vegetables are cooked, drain and immediately pour on top of Mozzarella Cheese.  Add the Pesto and toss all ingredients until coated with pesto and cheese.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and top with the tomato salad.   Print Recipe

Now it is my turn to get into the shower and call it a night.  I hope you all had a wonderful and productive Monday as well.  And even though this is only Monday, I think I will link up with Wednesday Whatsits...stop by and see what others have been up to.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend Wind Up

Friday we got up early and Frank prepared a wonderful breakfast of Sausage Patties and Pancakes. Spence had requested Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  Frank makes these just like the Blueberry Pancakes except he sprinkles them with Mini Chocolate Chips instead of Blueberries.

Frank, of course, does not mix the chocolate into the batter but sprinkles it on just so.

Breakfast was delicious.

Then Frank and Spence went down to Warren to look get a price for the part needed for our pool heater and to see if it made more sense to buy a new one while I stayed home and watched "Like Water for Chocolate" for my Food n Flix challenge this month.  Tune in Wednesday to see what recipe this film inspired me to make.

Here is what Frank and Spence is $1100 for the part to buy it from the store and $1600 for a new heater.  Frank had found the part for $700 on line.  We decided to think on it as this is a big expense coming on top of the baby shower.

Then we went to visit Mom at the Memory Center.  We were going to take her for ice cream but a guitar player arrived shortly after we did and Mom got engrossed in the music so we left.  We got ice cream and then Frank and Spence went shooting with John.  Spence did really well but I cannot figure out how to get the video onto this dang blog.....I have spent hours now trying to figure it out and am just a little FRUSTRATED!!!  Those of you who would like to see my great nephew (almost grandson) shoot perfectly (as he does everything in life) just go look on my facebook page because I am, evidently, computer illiterate!!

After they were done shooting we put the salmon back in the freezer and joined John and Kirsten for Chinese food.  Then they stole Spence from us and took him for a spin in their convertible Mustang.

Saturday we got up early and I got things ready for Frank's shooting class.  He had 10 people so I, once again, just threw together Sloppy Joes because that is an easy meal to make ahead of time and for Frank to serve up to the class.

Spence and I left and met Amy at the Farmer's Market where I bought some nice looking Walleye and Lake Trout Fillets.  I also got 2 hanging plants and a potted impatience for only $12.  It pays, evidently, to not put in flowers until the season is half over.

We left the Farmer's Market and did some shopping and had lunch out.  Then Amy left to go see Mom and Spence and I went to our CSA and to get mulch which was on sale....5 bags for $10 at Kroger and then another discount if you were a loyalty does pay to procrastinate!!!

We got home and put everything away just as Frank's class was finishing up.  Then we went to Lowe's and got a grill for Ting and Tony's housewarming gift.  I should have taken some pics of us trying to fit the box into the car but we were too busy struggling.  It is funny now but not so funny while it was happening.  We finally ended up taking the grill out of the box and putting it into the trunk by pieces.  

Since we were all calm and completely relaxed (not) by now we headed over to our graduation party, which was very nice and gave us an opportunity to breathe before we headed over to Ting and Tony's to put the grill together so they would have it for their housewarming party.  It was a long day....

This morning we were up and at em early once again.  We went to Mass on Harsen's Island after which they had a lovely fellowship breakfast.  Then we drove around so Spence could see what the Island had to offer. We stopped home long enough to water plants, straighten the house and feed the dogs and chickens and then we were off once again.  

Then we went to see Mom and while we were visiting we took a video and when I was going to download the video I figured out how to show you Spence!!!!  YAY!!!  So put Mom on hold for a moment and watch Spence!

Isn't he marvelous.
I love that smile at the end of the video.

Ok, back to Mom.  We were on the way to see Mom before going to Ting and Tony's housewarming.  We had loaded everything up in the car, stopped at the post office and then BAM!!  for absolutely no reason my nose started streaming blood.  All over the car, all over me and my looked like a scene from chainsaw massacre.  Frank pulled over and we stuffed tissues up my nose and then he brought me back home so I could get changed and cleaned up.  Meanwhile, he called Ting to tell her we would be late but she (thankfully) had everything under control.

Once I was back to (semi) normal we headed out again and stopped to see Mom.  Mom said that she had "tons of company" today.  I asked who had stopped by and she said "your sister and her husband and the whole family".  I later learned that my sister had, in fact, stopped by with her husband, son and dog to see Mom.  I was pretty pleased that Mom recollected that but I guess they had just left prior to our arrival.  We had taken Mom a package that had arrived from Mary and Larry in California.

Mom with her package from California.

Mom opening her package.

We then asked Mom if she wanted to go with us to the housewarming party but she thought she better not because her"gang" might need her.  So we kissed her goodnight as she went to play trivia and headed over to Ting and Tony's.

Ting and Tony did a marvelous job.  They had burgers with all the fixings, salad, corn on the cob, chips and watermelon.  It was a lovely day and they made us very proud.  Unfortunately, I did not take any photos while we were there.  When it was time to leave, John and Kirsten, once again, stole Spence from us.  I don't know where they are or what they are doing but I do know Spence is in great hands and I am sure he is having a blast.

I hope your weekend was wonderful as well.  See you all tomorrow.

Ooops, I almost forgot....on the way home tonight Frank decided we should get the pool heater fixed because otherwise it would be a wasted that part was ordered tonight to arrive on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Anticipating a Crazy Week and the Weekly Menu

The Baby Shower is in one week!  7 Days!! 168 Hours!!!

Okay, I'm breathing....I planned a whole dang wedding in 1 week, I can certainly handle a baby shower.  Ohhmmmmmm.  Good thing my week starts off with Yoga on Monday night LOL.

Today Frank is conducting a CPL Class (Concealed Pistol License) so I have prepared lunch for the class. While he does that Spence and I are running to the farm  for my weekly CSA share and then we are meeting up with Amy at the Farmer's Market because today is fish day and they will have a great selection of locally caught fish.  Tonight we have a graduation party to attend and will have dinner there.

Tomorrow we are going to go to St. Marks, our parish church on Harsen's Island, for Mass.  Spence has never been to the Island so after Mass we will take a ride so he can look around and perhaps have lunch on the Island as well and then we are going over to Ting and Tony's for their housewarming party and will have dinner there.

Monday we will have an early dinner before Yoga.

Try it Tuesday is also going to be a Year of Pizza dinner.

I watched  my Food n Flix film, Like Chocolate for Water and am making our Wednesday meal based on the inspiration I received. Stop by to read the post for that day and learn all about the movie and how it inspired me. This is also the day that I am going to slow cook my pork for the Baby Shower

Thursday, Tingting is coming to spend the day.  We are making the cupcakes and cake pops for the baby shower.  I chose a crockpot meal so I didn't have to worry about dinner and could concentrate on the baking.

Friday, the rest of Spence's family arrive for the weekend.  We are going to have fish but I don't know what kind until I return from the Farmer's Market today.  Today is also the day to make the chicken wings, sweet and sour meatballs and Italian Sausages for the shower.

So make sure you stop by each day this week.  I will be sharing what I was inspired to make on Wednesday, my fish dinner on Friday as well as photos and recipes from the rest of the week.  I will also be hooking up with MSM and MPM where you can find a whole bunch more (yes, that is proper English LOL) menu ideas.

Saturday-CPL Class
Sloppy Joes
Broccoli Salad

Dinner at Ting and Tony's

Meatless Monday
Pasta with Spinach, Chard,  Pesto, Corn and BeansPeas

Try it Tuesday
Zucchini Pizza Boats

Chips and Salsa
Cream Fritters ala Like Water for Chocolate

Ginger Ale Ham with Sweet Potatoes
Corn and Summer Squash Saute

Fish Friday

Friday, July 18, 2014

A new life is blooming...

Today is Five Minute Friday.  The day when Lisa Jo Baker gives us a one word prompt and we write for 5 minutes about whatever that prompt brings to mind.  5 minutes worrying about grammar or spelling or run on sentences.  No over editing or over thinking just losing yourself in your thoughts and words.  Please join us and tell us what the word BLOOM says to you today.


Some of you, who are regular readers of my blog, will not be surprised at the fact that today's word brought to mind the new life blooming inside our daughter, Ting, and the shower that we are currently underway planning to celebrate this life.

A new life is always a miracle.  Even when it is not a convenient time or not planned.  I like to say, when people talk about unplanned pregnancies, that God evidently had that life planned or it would not be blooming.

God knows us all by name.  He knitted us together in our mother's wounds.  There is definitely a plan and His plan is perfection.  So we celebrate the little miracle with which we have been blessed.  We eagerly anticipate each new step in this pregnancy and we cannot wait to get our hands on that beautiful little life.