Friday, April 28, 2017

Books, blooms and birthday cakes

This has been a week filled with favorites and blessings, but I'll try to narrow it down to just five.

1.  I wrote about this back here, but the best part of my week was getting to celebrate my birthday with my grandkids in Wisconsin on Sunday, then flying home on Monday and seeing the two here in Colorado.  The two older ones are at the age where birthday cakes mean the celebration is all for them! because they get to help blow out the candles.  I love the pure joy that children have for parties.

2.  When we were in Wisconsin I saw some cardinals, which is such a treat because we don't have them in Colorado. They are so beautiful and I tried to get a picture of one, but he flew away too quickly.

3.  On the flights to and from, I had a couple of hours to read and listen to music -- the positive part of an activity that I'm not too thrilled about!

4.  New rosebushes! I won't be able to plant for a couple of weeks, but I'm excited to get them in the ground and enjoy the new colors and fragrances.

5.  I'm a sucker for office supply stores. Today, I went to buy ink and couldn't resist this cute clipboard that was on sale for just a few dollars. At this time of year especially, it's hard to resist anything floral!

Loving the Spring weather we're having. (We'll just ignore the 3 to 6 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow!)

What are your favorites from the week? Check in with Friday Fave Five, or share below in the comments.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In the Kitchen

I promised to share my daughter-in-law Miranda's recipe for Green Chili, which is by far the best I've ever tasted! And doesn't it look pretty?

Miranda's Green Chili

3 lbs. pork, cubed
Four 7-ounce cans green chilies
1 7-ounce can diced jalapenos
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
6 tomatoes, diced
2 white onions, diced
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. oregano
2 Tbs. dry mustard
1 Tbs. garlic powder
2 boxes (8 cups) of chicken broth

1 cup flour
3 sticks butter

In a large stock pot, saute pork with a little bit of butter until browned, about 3 minutes. Add onion and cook until pork is done.

Add spices, cook for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, green chilies and jalapenos.  Cook 5 more minutes.

Add broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about half an hour.

In separate pan, melt 3 sticks of butter. Add cup of flour, combine them into a thick paste (a roux). Add paste to the green chili and remove from heat.

Serve with tortillas, cheese and sour cream.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Best Birthday Ever

Last Thursday, Dan and I flew out to Wisconsin to visit Luke, Miranda, Siefer and Sawyer. Warning: this post is picture heavy!

The last time we saw the kids was at Thanksgiving! So many changes in Sawyer, who is walking now, and saying a few words. He reminds me so much of his daddy at this age, it makes my heart ache.

This is the sweet little house they've been living in. However, they just signed a lease on a new rental, which we got to see while we were there. So, now I can picture them in their new house whenever I think of them:)

Here are Siefer and Sawyer on the steps of the new house. I love the little town that they live in. It is quiet and friendly and Miranda's family all live within walking distance.

I found a favorite coffee shop that Miranda and her mom and Siefer and I went to one morning. It has a little antique shop, too!

Wisconsin is so pretty, with lots of farmland and beautiful big barns. The area has lots of barn quilts, and it's fun to see all the different patterns. We were blessed with the most gorgeous weather and blue skies the whole time!

Luke is a coach for the local high school. We went to a game and they asked Dan to keep the books. It was just like old times;)

Miranda is a fabulous cook! This green chili was amazing. I will share the recipe in a later post.

Everything in town is within walking distance. Miranda and I took the kids to the park one afternoon to watch Luke's baseball practice. He's also playing on a team, so they have lots of baseball to look forward to this summer;)

There are a lot of Amish in the community and we went to an Amish store one afternoon. I bought some perfectly wonderful cake pans, and some work gloves for Dan. Miranda bought some cherry chips that Siefer and I used to bake cookies later on.

We had a wonderful three days of just hanging together. On Sunday night, we celebrated my birthday, to Siefer's delight! I don't have a picture, but I have a lovely memory of how excited she was to help me blow out the candles and the look on her face as she presented me with a card, saying "Happy Valentine's Day!" haha!

We flew home yesterday, my actual birthday and the day continued to hold special moments. For one, this bookstore in the Milwaukee airport! It is a used bookstore with a fabulous assortment of books.  I found two treasures to bring home.

We got home in time to order pizza and have a birthday celebration with the Colorado grandkids! Life just doesn't get any better than this!

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?