Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Monday

This Easter Monday is an especially lovely day. Lilly and I were out early for a walk.  There are some talented gardeners living in our neighborhood, and it's always fun to check out what is popping up in front yards. Sometimes I snap photos and stash them in a 'garden' file on my phone. When it's time to plant spring bulbs for next year, I have something to reference.

Speaking of popping up, violas and pansies are my favorites.  I couldn't resist buying a pot of violas for the front porch.

And I think I've finally, FINALLY succeeded in getting some Lily of the Valley to grow along the fence in the backyard.  Much of what was transplanted there last year is coming back!

In a world that is so distressed, the rebirth that occurs in spring is a beautiful message of hope. Speaking of the word hope, someone recently shared with me an acronym for the word: Hold On, Pain Ends.

While there are certainly times when I find myself succumbing to feelings of despair for what the world is suffering, I'm encouraged by miracles, large and small, that have happened in my life and in the lives of people around me.  There's always, always hope for rebirth.

To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have travelled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future. May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives.  ~~  Pope Francis

Happy Spring to all,

Friday, April 7, 2017

Spring Favorites

Happy Friday! The obligatory Spring snowstorm came and went earlier this week, and today is a beautiful day.  Here are my Friday Fave Five 'little celebrations' from the week:

1. Miranda sent me this picture of Siefer 'walking' Sawyer. He is a little speed demon, so the backpack/leash set up is a good idea.

2. I collect stamps and just ordered this new set commemorating Oscar de la Renta. The colors and patterns are beautiful, aren't they? They say Spring all over.

3. Lots of perennials are popping up in the backyard! I'm so pleasedwith this clematis. I haven't had a lot of luck with them in the past, but this one looks pretty happy for early Spring.

4. Ponies! This is from an earlier post this week. My Brooklynn has ponytails! Just so girly and sassy and fun!

5. It's baseball season! and to celebrate Dan made chili dogs for supper last night.

What are your Spring favorites this week?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Random thoughts on Monday

  • Last night I watched the ACM (American Country Music) Awards. If I had to pick a favorite music genre, that would be it. I put a bunch more songs on my playlist, which I listen to here at home on Sonos, and also on my iPhone or in the car.  Some of my favorites:  Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw, My Church by Maren Morris, and Blue Ain't Your Color by Keith Urban.
  • Brooklynn spent the night with us on Saturday. She is not a morning person (like her Grandma;), and wakes up very slowly. Which is so sweet, because she is a pretty independent little person, and now that she's two, she doesn't sit still for snuggling like she used to. So, it was very nice to just hold her while she slowly woke up, and we watched cartoons, and I was pretty much in heaven.
  • Sunday was such a beautiful day, and we spent much of it outdoors. Oh, and now that she's two and has hair! we have ponytails! 

  • At age three, Siefer has become quite the conversationalist on FaceTime. I'm counting the days until we go see her and the Wisconsin clan at the end of April. Much of our FaceTime is spent planning what we'll do when we're there (Watch "Trolls" and bake cookies).
  • Having caught up with all the seasons of Homeland on Netflix, Dan and I watched Inferno recently. It's a Dan Brown (DaVinci Code) story.  I liked it, even though I had no reference for the way it followed Dante's Inferno, which I've not read. But any movie with Tom Hanks is a winner in my book.
  • I'm now all caught up with our photo albums. (I told Dan, NOTHING important or photo-worthy can happen for a week, so I can just bask in the joy of being all caught up.) I love taking pictures and organizing them into albums. I do my own version of scrapbooking -- not nearly as artistic as what you see nowadays. After graduating from college, I worked at a municipal museum in the archives room. I loved going through old photographs and imagining the stories. Whenever I get overwhelmed by all the pictures I take and wonder if it's worth doing, I look at some of the older albums that I've put together and I know that it's worthwhile. 
  • In the kitchen: baked mostaccioli, banana bread, breakfast for supper, menu plan for Easter brunch
  • Opening Day: A win for the Rockies!
That's what's happening in my neck of the woods. How about you?

Friday, March 31, 2017

S'long March

Wow, it's the last day of March. How did that happen? I'm linking up with the Friday Fave Five crowd to take a minute, slow down, and be mindful of the good things that happened this week.

1.  We celebrated another birthday this week. Brooklynn turned 2! I guess with big families, there are lots of birthdays to celebrate. We do love a party.

2.  Last weekend, we gathered with the group we share Rockies tickets with, and chose our games for the season. Yay baseball . . . a sure sign of Spring:)

3.  Have any of you been following April the Giraffe? I'll admit it, I'm hooked. Giraffes and babies -- two of my favorite things. In a time when the news is so full of things that make my blood pressure go up, I love tuning in to see this graceful, beautiful creature and wonder how God come up with such a curious design!

4.  Another one of my favorite things -- my podiatrist.  Weird, I know, but I trust him with my feet, like no one else! I have a new 'bump' and saw him Tuesday. It's so comforting to have complete confidence in a doctor. (Am I old or what, sharing my bone spurs on my blog?)

5.  Last but not least, I am feeling blessed indeed that my children are so willing to help one another when in need.  Without any encouragement, or even knowledge of what was going on, one of my kids reached out to the other this week and is helping them through some challenges.  I'm not trying to take any credit here, it has nothing to do with me. I'm just proud of the adults they're becoming.

How was your week? Any funny bumps along the way??

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In the Kitchen

I thought I would share a favorite recipe today.  My neighbor shared this recipe for granola years ago, when we decided to make breakfast baskets for Christmas gifts.  I made up some pancake mix to include in the gift. (I should look for that recipe and share it, too.  I think it originated with my cousin. Isn't it fun how recipes come with their own histories?)

I  make this in batches and store it in a couple of mason jars. I sprinkle it on yogurt mixed with fresh fruit, which I try to have all cut up and ready to go in the fridge.  My husband likes fresh fruit on his cereal and I put it on green salads sometimes.

Here's the recipe:

Nancy's Granola

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dry nonfat milk
¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
¼ cup honey
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine oats, flour, sugar, almonds walnuts, powdered milk, sunflower seeds and salt in a 13x9x2” metal baking pan.

Whisk vegetable oil, water, honey, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Add to dry ingredients in the pan and stir to coat well. Bake until golden and crunchy, stirring frequently, about 45 minutes or until golden brown. I set the timer for 15 minutes at a time to stir and check it. Cool completely.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container (a Ziploc bag, canning jar or Tupperware container).  Makes 4 cups.

Monday, March 27, 2017


Yesterday I took a day trip with my friends Mary and Cindy. We drove up to the mountain town of Leadville to check out places for a rehearsal dinner for Mary's son Liam and his fiancee's wedding in July.

It was such a beautiful day, starting out as every road trip should with a stop at Starbucks to get coffee for the road.

The three of us have been friends since our kids were little. I met Mary in the school gym when we would sit on the floor and watch our sons play basketball.  Cindy and I met through a Bible study group, which Mary eventually joined, too. We met for the dozen or more years that our kids were all going through school. A couple of them are still in college. Though we don't see each other weekly anymore, we've become family for one another.  I love seeing these friends, and spending an entire day together was just a huge treat.

Cindy grew up in Leadville, a picturesque, historic little mining town that is at an elevation of 10,151 feet. We got the grand tour, including the house she grew up in and the church where she and Mike were married. We strolled the main street, stopped in at a variety of restaurants where the proprietors could not have been more friendly or helpful. And we did a little shopping. My husband would have been disappointed had I not;)

For lunch, we went back to our favorite restaurant that has a big patio out back with a gorgeous view. It would be a great place for a gathering. We stopped at a bakery to inquire about cakes, and to get coffee/tea/hot chocolate for the ride home.

Such a wonderful day, spending time with these two dear friends!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Five Spring Favorites

It's the first Friday Fave Five of Spring. A new season and a renewed effort to keep up with my favorite meme at the end of the week.

It's been one of those weeks where it's hard to narrow it down, but here are five things I'm grateful for:

1.  Celebrating this grandson of mine on his first birthday! I hold him whenever I possibly can, knowing that in a short time he'll be walking and won't want to be held (sniff). He is so round and roly poly and happy all the time.  Just a delight.

2. We Facetimed with the Wisconsin contingency and all the grandkids got to see each other. It was great fun watching their reactions to one another. The 3-year-old is the only one who really understood what the heck was going on, but there was lots of waving and smiling. Kids don't hold back, I love that.

3. My son Joe is taking a literature class this semester, and I've read a few of the books along with him. We've had some great discussions. I read some of Truman Capote's works -- a first for me. At Joe's suggestion, I started with Breakfast at Tiffany's. He is a wonderful, sensitive writer and his short stories are just lovely. I haven't read In Cold Blood and I'm not sure if I will, but I'm really glad I read his other works.

4.  I found a new favorite at Starbuck's -- an Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato. It's not as sweet as it sounds, and I sometimes ask for less caramel.  But, as prepared it's only 200 calories, so that's something.

5.  Last but not least, I had a really nice week at work. It was a quiet week, and I was able to get caught up, completing the transition to our new billing system. I'm feeling quite capable and techie right now.

How was your week?  Link up here to share!