Friday, February 25, 2011


We woke up to a Frosty Wonderland this morning. After I dropped Emily at school, I went for a walk and took some pictures.  I know that in the midst of my crazy week there were still blessings to be found.  But on my short walk this morning there was an abundance -- the easy camaraderie of other walkers and runners, the friendliness of a dog I met on the trail, the warmth of my car afterwards, and the beauty all around me. I'll just share what I found through five of my photos.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bring on the Nyquil

I'm in the middle of the winter blahs, and to  make matters worse, I have a rotten cold.  It seems we've been plagued with all sorts of maladies lately.  The week before last, the Girl Child had a migraine that kept her home from school for several days.

This week, the Middle Child has been home with a sore throat, fever, ear ache, you-name-it-he's-got-it.  Except for strep.  The test was negative.

Yesterday, I couldn't drag myself out of bed.  Luckily, DH was home and he took over.  This morning I felt better enough to go to the grocery store to get bread, milk, and cough medicine for the Middle Child.  About half way through the grocery store, I suddenly had no energy and wanted to crawl into the cart and curl up and go to sleep.  But I didn't.  Instead, I went down the frozen foods aisle and grabbed a pint of Ben & Jerry's coffee ice cream, because it really is the best thing for a sore throat.  It's been scientifically proven. 

Between naps and watching endless episodes of Clean House and House Hunters, I've been buying books on Amazon with my Swagbucks.  And finishing up some library books that are now past due.  One is called Don't Dump the Dog by Randy Grim.  It is the best and the funniest dog training manual I've ever read.  This book will make you feel better about your dog, about yourself, and -- unless you don't have a pulse -- have you laughing out loud with stories about rescue dogs and advice for curing any type of canine misbehavior.  Even if you don't have a dog, you will love the humor in this book.

The good news is that the Middle Child is now feeling well enough to make our tea.  I just texted him to please put the kettle on and brew me a cup.  I got a :)  back.  Gotta love technology.

Cooking Thursday

I'm linking up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom, for her Cooking Thursday party.  Check it out for some more great recipes!

Salmon cakes are one of my family's favorite suppers.  Which is a wonder because I never make them the same way twice.  It's like meatloaf, I just have a recipe in my head (sort of) and I go from there.  But, Monday night I found this one in my recipe box and decided to follow it exactly.  These are the best salmon cakes ever!  I served them with baked potatoes, Le Sueur canned peas and applesauce.

Salmon Cakes  

2 - 6 oz. cans skinless, boneless salmon
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dried basil
5 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt

Drain salmon and combine with 1 cup bread crumbs, 2 eggs and seasoning in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Form into patties and set aside.  In three small bowls, prepare the following ingredients:  3 beaten eggs in one bowl, flour in another, and the remaining bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in the third.  Dip each patty into the beaten eggs, then in the flour, and lastly in the bread crumb and Parmesan mixture.  Saute in a skillet until batter is golden brown, then finish heating in the oven set at 350 degrees F for 7 miinutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Daybook

For today . . . February 21, 2011

Outside my window. . .it is a hazy and chilly day.  The snow has melted, it is gray and cold. A good day for brewing a pot of tea and reading a favorite book.

I am thinking. . .that Spring is still a couple months away, so I need to live in the moment and stop "wishing" it would get here sooner!

I am thankful for. . .my husband's canceled business trip this week.

From the kitchen. . .Salmon cakes, baked potatoes and broccoli for supper. Chocolate chip cookies. The tea kettle is on for my son who has a sore throat.

I am wearing. . .jeans and a sweatshirt.

I am creating. . .a plan for spring break.

I am going. . .to lunch with a girlfriend to celebrate her birthday.  To the doctor with my son to get a strep test.

I am reading. . . Your Aging Dog and The Wonder of Girls.  Exciting stuff.

I am hoping. . . for a solution to the turmoil in the world.

I am hearing. . .the national news on t.v.

Around the house. . .the kids are home from school.  I don't expect to get a lot of housekeeping done today, but there are sheets to change, bathrooms to clean.  I think I'll take advantage of the free labor.

One of my favorite things. . . Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion from Bath & Bodyworks

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . Looking forward to getting my MIL out of the hospital and home again! Softball practice, pitching practice, daughter to eye dr., dog to vet.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing . . .
Many thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook for hostessing this meme.  It continues to be one of my favorites.  It's a great way to start the week!  If you'd like to join in, here's the link.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blueberry Almond Muffins

I try to sneak healthy ingredients into my recipes whenever possible.  This muffin recipe contains some of the "super foods" I've been reading about, including blueberries, almonds and flaxseed meal.  My family loves them!  (Recipe adapted from Penzeys Spices)

1/2 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup milled flaxseed
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbs butter, melted
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaton
1 cup blueberries 
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Stir the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the middle.  In a separate bowl, stir together the melted butter, milk, almond and vanilla extracts, and eggs.  Pour into the well and combine the liquid and dry ingredients.  Don't over mix. 
Gently fold in the blueberries and almonds.  Pour batter into paper lined muffin tin.  Bake 25-27 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm!  Delicious for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Happy Valentine's Day

This is the 28th Valentine's Day I've spent with my Sweetie.  For our first one, we were engaged and he surprised me with pearl earrings.  They're still  my favorite pair.

These are just a few of the reasons I love him:

He is my rock.  He is even tempered and easy going.  Whether it's a minor disruption or a major disaster, he responds calmly and takes action.  Especially the time I ran into our garage door and knocked a few bricks off the house. 

He always finds time for our children.  When they were little, he claimed bath time and bedtime as his time with them.  They loved that. I loved it even more.  He'll take time from work to attend school programs and loves having 'traditions' like having lunch with them.

He provides for us and never, ever complains about it.  This includes early hours at the office so that he can get off early to attend a baseball game, traveling out of town, sometimes having to leave on a Sunday evening and working hard so that we have a nice home and more than we need.  I don't thank him enough for this.

He always reminds me that it's "you and me."  He puts me first.   He adores our kids.  But I know I'm his favorite:)

I'm one lucky gal!

Happy Valentine's Day, Dan.  I love you xoxo

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Friday

It's Friday, and time to link up at Susanne's to share the best parts of our week.

1.  Yesterday, after I dropped Emily at school, I took my usual route home and saw two Bald Eagles perched in a tree in the open space near our park.  It was thrilling to see the pair of them!  They looked so regal, looking over the snow covered fields, surveying their domain.

2.  Is it weird that sometimes I like having my kids home sick?  Not because they're sick, but because it means I don't go out anywhere. I tend to work on projects that keep me close to them so I can keep an eye on them, feel their foreheads, bring them ginger ale and sit on the sofa next to them every so often to catch up on episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place. I love that show. Don't tell anyone because it's written for 10-year-olds.

3.  Talking to Kathy on the phone.  I haven't talked to her in two weeks, so we had lots to catch up on.  While I had cleaned up the kitchen, fed the dogs and then stretched out on the sofa and twirled my hair for 20 minutes, we got all caught up with each other and had solved many of the world's problems.  I love having a friend like that.

4.  I cleaned out the pantry and re-stocked.  I feel like I have King Soopers in my back room.  Everything I need, all neat and organized.

5.  Meeting new bloggers!  I found some new blogs this week and have met the nicest people.  It's a Very Cherry World  is filled with vintage charm!  Check it out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Rednesday!

I'm playing along with Red Wednesday (Rednesday!) at It's A Very Cherry World.  If you love red as much as I do, you'll love browsing through the links on this one!

Photos from my kitchen:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thinkin' out loud

Years ago when Emily was little, we went to a Renaissance Festival.  It had been a long time since I'd been to one, and it was a small festival at that.  Emily had never been.  Both of us were excited about the day ahead, but not sure what to expect.

We had such a good time that day.  There were plays and craft booths and lots of food to eat.  People  dressed in costume, jesters put on shows and there were jousting tournaments with live horses.  Emily was thrilled to have a princess veil to wear.  Her favorite part of the day was meeting Mother Goose and getting to hold a snowy white goose on her lap. 

Later in the day, she rode an elephant!  Afterward, I said to her, "Did you ever think, when you woke up this morning, that you would be riding on an elephant today?  You just never know what a new day will bring."

Fast forward about ten years to this afternoon.  After four days of feeling miserable and getting no relief from yesterday's visit to the doctor's office, we ended up at urgent care at our local Children's Hospital.  Sitting on the bed, looking at the intravenous needle in her arm, Emily remarked, "Well, I never thought I'd be doing this today."

Before I go any further, let me say that Em is fine. As it turns out, she is suffering from a migraine -- suffering being the operative word here.  Poor girl.  She also had a few symptoms that were throwing the doctors off and they were hesitant to diagnose a migraine and send Em home.  As Emily was put through a variety of  tests, my anxiety level was increasing.

Dan is on a business trip out east, but we were in regular communication with our cell phones.  I know that as hard as it was for me to sit there and wait for results, it was much harder for him, being so far away.  I was supposed to meet some girlfriends this evening, so I texted my friend Mary and told her I couldn't make it and why.  She texted right back, that she would pray, and "Know I'm with you every breath of the way."  I'm not one to cause undue alarm, but when my friend Pam had texted me earlier that day, in my response to her I mentioned Em and asked her to send up a quick prayer.  She assured me that she and her husband were "on it."

If you've ever been in a room for an MRI, you know how incredibly noisy it can be, even with the ear plugs they give you to wear.  I sat in there while Em had her test, trying to pray.  I couldn't find words and all of the rote prayers that I know just kept getting jumbled up in my head, either from nerves or from the roar of the MRI machine.  I was feeling very sympathetic for Christina Aguilera at this point!  But, knowing that my husband and friends were there with me, as Mary said, 'every breath of the way' and praying for Em, and me. . . well, I knew we were covered.  And my prayer became one of just knowing God's embrace, knowing that whatever lie ahead was in His hands.

How often that in the tumult and racket of every day life, it is all we can do to just have faith and to lean on those around us.  It is so comforting to know that my husband and my friends -- whether they were right across town, or literally across the country, were actually right beside me today.  Each morning is a new day, and who knows what it will bring. But I do know that whatever happens, I'm not alone.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How was your weekend?

  • sorted and cleaned through all the files in my office.  Ahh, feels good to be organized.
  • watched "Every Day" on pay-per-view, starring Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt and Brian Dennehy  We'd never even heard of this movie, but Dan and I enjoyed it.
  • made potato skins and buffalo wings for snacks for the Super Bowl.
  • felt  old watching the half-time show, when I wished aloud that they'd bring Paul McCartney back.
  • met a girlfriend for breakfast at Panera.
  • sorted through old Christmas and greeting cards . . .
  • and gathered up all of these that I could find . . .
  • and sent them here, where the cards will be recycled, and along with the coupons will be used for fundraising for this worthwhile cause:
So, how was your weekend?  If you'd like to use the button at the top of this post, just grab it and go for it!  Be sure to leave a comment, so we can come visit:)

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's Friday!

Friday's Fave Five is a time to look back at the week and find the blessings, big and small.  This has been a great week for me, but I'll try to limit my list to five:)

1.  Last weekend my sisters-in-law stayed with us to celebrate Dan's parents birthdays with a dinner on Saturday.  Sunday morning the two of them fixed a wonderful breakfast of biscuits and gravy.  It was such a treat. Breakfast is my favorite meal, especially when someone else does the cooking;)

2.  I need to write an entire post about this, but on Monday my friend Pam was in town. We had the whole day to visit, she stayed overnight and we both made it a point to get up early so we could talk a few more hours.  Pam is a lifelong friend -- we met in junior high -- and we have a long history together!

3.  The freezing cold temps.  It barely made it above 0 on Monday and Tuesday.  I loved staying indoors, drinking lots of tea and having the fireplace going.  The kids were out of school for two days. Yesterday I made a new recipe in the crockpot.  It felt like a holiday this week.

4.  Sleeping in!  Emily didn't have school today, because of a teacher in-service day.  I slept in until an embarrassingly late hour!  Today we're going to get Em's haircut and go out for lunch.

5.  A new book.  Joey gave me a gift card for Christmas and I bought a copy of Pride and Prejudice.  It's on my list of books to read for 2011.

How was your week?  Join us at Susanne's for Friday's Fave Five!

Oh, and before I forget -- just want to give a shout out to Robin and Lori at Homestead Chimney.  Thanks so much for reading my blog ladies!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today. . .Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Outside my window. . . it is a cool 7 degrees Fahrenheit, with about two inches of snow.  The sun is shining bright in a clear, blue sky. We have the fireplace going and a pot of tea brewing. 

I am thinking. . .this is the second day that the kids are home from school.  I don't ever recall the schools being closed due to cold weather.  I guess there's a first time for everything.  

From the kitchen. . . leftover enchiladas for lunch.

I am wearing. . . jeans and a long sleeved tee-shirt.

I am creating. . . Valentine cookies! 

I am going. . . no where!  I had an appointment this morning and I'm glad to be home again.  
I am reading. . . "Get Out of My Life, But First Can You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall" and "Your Aging Dog."  At this point, I'm more optimistic about the dog.

I am  hoping. . . for a calm rest of the week.

I am hearing. . .A sitcom on t.v. and Lilly, our English Springer Spaniel, whining to go out.  It is soooo cold, and she just doesn't get it!  Nobody wants to play outside.   

Around the house. . . kinda messy.  Unmade beds, a sink full of dirty dishes. We're very relaxed today.

One of my favorite things. . .Valentines, handwritten letters, Crabtree and Evelyn lavender soap.  (Yes, I know. That's three!)

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . we had a super busy weekend, so this weekend will be spent working on a few projects around the house (DH is redoing our kitchen island -- I will take before and after photos!). 

A picture thought I am sharing. . .
I'm linking up with The Simple Woman's Daybook.