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

Ingredients:
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

Leadville


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!

 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Books


Our library has a quarterly adult reading program. It's a lot like the kids' summer reading program, where you read a certain number of books to earn prizes. This is a lot more low key. For this winter the theme is "Chill with a Good Book." You pick up a scratch card at the reference desk, and there are suggestions for three different kinds of books.  You can go with the suggestions or read something of your own choosing.  When you read three books, you return the card and it goes into a weekly drawing. The prizes are things like a library mug filled with chocolates. At the end of the quarter, all the cards go into a pot for the 'big drawing.' One year I one a $25 gift card to the mall!

Sometimes, you can earn extra points for weekly drawings by writing a short book review, which goes up on the bulletin board.

Here are some books I've read as a result of the program:

1. Read a book that takes place at least 5,000 miles from where you live.  My choice was Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper. I love this author. This story starts out in 1961 rural England. Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a murder, committed by a family member. Haunted by the experience for the next 40 years, she is finally able to confront it again, when the family member is dying.  This takes the story back to pre-war England, where the details are unraveled. I love books that jump around in time, and this one does it well, giving you just enough information to move the story forward and keep the reader in suspense.

2. Read a book that is less than 220 pages. For this selection, I chose Beehives, the second in a mystery series of three books by Mary Coley.  My friend gifted me this series after I visited her in Tulsa and we traveled to Pawhuska, the town of Pioneer Woman fame.  The books take place in this area, and it was especially fun to read the first one (Cobwebs) and recognize landmarks from Pawhuska.  Beehives is set in nearby Osage Hills State Park. 'The protagonist is Jamie Aldrich, a recently widowed science teacher, who has a knack for coming across dead bodies.

3.  Re-read a book from your youth. This was easy for me, and I immediately dug through some boxes in the basement for my copy of Bambi by Felix Salten. I decided to Google the author first to find out the history of how this delightful tale, considered one of the first environmental novels ever published, became an animated Disney movie. Felix Salten was an Austrian author and critic, who wrote the book in his native language. It was eventually translated and published in the U.S., as were several sequels. The sequels were first published in English, as Salten was a prominent Jew and his books were banned in 1935 by Adolph Hitler. The story of Bambi is a coming of age story, as the roe deer learns the ways of the forest. It is also a poetic tale of the beauty of the earth and how all the animals connect with one another.

I'm on my second card and have chosen to go my own way on a few of the selections.  More on that in another post.

Happy Wednesday,

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring



Yay! Today is the first day of Spring! The season is really strutting it's stuff this year, as witnessed by the Chanticleer Flowering Pear tree outside my window.  I've been watching it for the past couple of days, and this morning I'm seeing the first blooms.

Our temperatures hit 80 degrees this weekend, so we took the opportunity to turn over some dirt for (I promise, Sweetie) one last flower bed.  


It was lovely being outdoors this weekend.  The iris bulbs that I got from a neighbor last fall, are sprouting up nicely.  Daffodils, hydrangeas and crocus are popping up.  I stopped by our library last Friday and the planters out front are bursting with pansies and tulips.  I love that our town puts so much effort into gardens and landscape.


 And, how can I post about Spring unless I include a new baby?  This is Chloe, my friend Terry's 5-month-old miniature Australia shepherd.  We met for coffee yesterday and sat outside on the patio.  I wish I had a nickle for every person who stopped to coo over her and give her a pat.  It seems no one can resist a puppy and she brought lots of smiles to an already beautiful, sunny spring day.



We may get some snow later in the week, and that's okay.  It was great having a little taste of Spring and a glimpse of warm weather ahead.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Thoughts on a Wednesday

Hard to belief that it's March already, and another month has flown by.  Here's what's been going on this week:

1. On Monday, I drove up to the town where I went to college to see an art exhibit that was featured in our alumni magazine.  It's been up there since the first of the year, and I'd been meaning to take a drive up, since it only ran through February. It was a beautiful, cool but sunny day.  The drive up to Greeley wasn't exactly relaxing -- there's a lot more traffic now than when I used to make the drive 30 plus years ago.  But, I'm glad I made the trip.  The art gallery is on the older part of campus, where I lived as a student, so I strolled around and memories kept popping into my head of the wonderful years I spent at UNC.





2.  I did a bunch of cooking over the weekend, recipes for the cookbook and some baking for Joe and Sam.  One of our family favorites are these cinnamon rolls.  The recipe is called Clone of a Cinnabon, and they are delicious! I use the bread machine to make the dough and it couldn't be simpler.



3.  I'm finishing up a book challenge with our local library.  One of the suggested reads is a book from childhood.  I chose Bambi by Felix Salten.  I loved it as a child, reading it over and over again. I'll do a post about it soon, and the other books I chose for the challenge.


There's a trace of snow on the ground this morning, but the skies are cloudless and blue once again!