Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday

It's the end of October, can you believe it? Our trees are beginning to change color and the weather has been lovely. Today I want to stop and take a moment to reflect on some of the things I have to be thankful for the last several weeks.

  • Husband is back to work, although he was able to get quite a lot accomplished during the time he was home, he was very glad to get back to work.
  • Young son has found employment at a small bike shop where he lives. Biking is something he enjoys doing, so this job is a great fit and he will be able to continue to "gig" on the side.
  • Release from GI doctor, things have been stable, no longer need MRI's every six months...happy dance
  • Still getting peppers and tomatoes from the garden...we are just about done, will probably pick the last of the peppers this week.

  • Weekly phones calls from my sister
  • I say this all the time, but I can't over emphasis how thankful I am for my church and pastors and how the Word of God is faithfully preached every Sunday. We are just finishing up the book of Ephesians, don't you love how God can show you something different every time you read his Word, even though it may be a familiar book or passage. His Word is always fresh, always relevant.
  • Thankful that the car we thought  might need a fuel pump, only needed an inspection
  • Thankful for "Grandma Days" I had to miss a couple last month, makes me all the more thankful for them

  • Thankful that we are included in the other activities the children have, I have gotten to go to soccer games and a pep rally

  •  Pansies and chrysanthemums

  • Today marks the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it is the month that I celebrate three years of being cancer free...thankful!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Delighting In The Everyday

Last week was a pretty productive for me. I was able to clean closets, sort through clothes, do laundry, try some new recipes and purchase some pansies to plant for fall color. I know this doesn't sound all that exciting, but for me, it represented "normal"  I had been feeling like I was "treading water" the last several weeks, not really bad, but not good either, and I wasn't given any promise of things getting better...not something I wanted to hear.

So last week was a "normal" week and I delighted in each and every day. I enjoyed cleaning closets, sorting through clutter and yes, doing laundry. I was acutely aware of how thankful I was to be able to take care of my family and home.

Don't we all have something to be thankful for no matter what our lives look like, I know I do, and I also know I fall short in thanking the Lord for the many blessings he provides in my life. Praying that the Lord will help me develop a more grateful spirit.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple Picking

Conditions were not ideal, but husband and I decided to take a drive towards the Blue Ridge Mountains this past weekend to go apple picking. I was a bit apprehensive about going, it had been raining for days and I wasn't sure about making the trip, but husband was, so off we went.

We arrived in the early afternoon and drove up the hill to the orchard, we were going to pick apples that day but it was still drizzling, and worse, the mud was terrible, so we decided to wait until morning. (it had been raining the last several days nonstop)

View from top of the mountain

The next morning was better, still drizzly but there was some promise of sunshine. The apples were plentiful so it took hardly anytime to pick what we needed. The hardest part was navigating the muddy fields, I saw more than one person with a muddy backside. We had decided to buy a couple pair of 
"Wellies" the night before and was very glad we did, the red clay would have ruined any shoes we would have worn, and now I have something to wear in my own muddy backyard.

We came home with five bags of apples, some to share, some to eat and some to cook with. I have learned that apples can be stored for several months if kept cool. (30-35 degrees) Small apples store better and they must be perfect, no blemishes or bruises. Certain apples store better than others, we picked Stayman's, Granny Smith's and Fuji's, those apples can be stored for up to 4-5 months, although I doubt they will be around that long. I was concerned about all the downed apples, seemed like such a waste but was told those apples are used to make cider.

After we picked our apples we splurged on some hot apple cider and hot cider donuts...who needs breakfast?

They also made provision for folks to donate apples that they picked and purchased

This area is also known for it's vineyards. 

It was a quick trip for us, up one day back the next but I think it will be worth another trip soon. Maybe next time we will see Monticello.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


                            Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Closing comments for today.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kale and Chorizo Soup

I had heard about it, seen the sign for it but,  had never visited the little Farmers Market that set up every Saturday at a local park. The Market is open from the middle of June till right before Thanksgiving, which means I'm a little late to the party but at least I'll have a few weeks to enjoy shopping there. Don't these veggies look wonderful? I know you can't see everything in the basket, but there are a couple of types of onion, yellow and butternut squash, tomatoes, sweet potato, apples and kale. We think we did okay with the price, around eight bucks for what's in the basket, but what was most important to us is that it was farm fresh.

The inspiration for this soup was the kale. I know lots of folks who make smoothies using kale but that didn't really appeal to me , so since I have never cooked with kale before, it was off to the Internet to see if I could find a recipe that looked good. I found lots of recipes but they either used ingredients I didn't have or ingredients I didn't like, so I came up with a version of my own.

Kale and Chorizo Soup

1/2 large onion chopped (about a cup)
3 cloves garlic minced
1tablespoon olive oil
6-8 cups kale, washed, stems trimmed off, then roughly cut
8 ounces fresh chorizo sausage, casings removed (most for the recipes I saw called for diced smoked chorizo but I didn't have any in the house)
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cans chicken broth
2 cans cannellini beans
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper flake blend

Saute the sausage, onions and garlic in the olive oil until sausage cooked, then add kale until wilted just a bit, about 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, chicken broth and spices, then simmer about 30 minutes or until kale is texture that you like. (I didn't mention salt because I didn't add it but you may want to salt to your taste) Pair it with some nice bread and you have a meal.

The spices I used

This soup is pretty adaptable, I think you can use any kind of white bean or even kidney beans and the next time I make this I may try the smoked chorizo. The best part of this soup for us, is that there is going to be a lot of leftovers, which is good cause I hear it's going to be raining for the next couple of days....enjoy!

This recipe adapted from Cooking Light recipe November 2010

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Just For Fun

I am always on the lookout for treasures to bring home for the grandchildren to play with. We have a room over our garage that has been designated as their playroom. (it also doubles as a guest room, you just have to sleep with the toys)

             Most of the treasures I bring home are found at yard sales, thrift stores or curbside.

This little fort was found curbside while husband and I were out walking one day.The folks throwing it away not only helped us disassemble it, but took it home for us in their truck. We cleaned it up with a power washer and brought it inside.

 We got this kitchen when my oldest granddaughter was about three. Kind of an unplanned thing, we were going to the grocery store but decided to make a quick stop at the thrift store first first, needless to say we had to run back home to drop off the kitchen before I could go grocery shopping. All four of the children have played with this.

This past week, we were looking for shelves at Habitat for Humanity and found this little vanity instead. I could not resist, I knew the girls would love it.  After we cleaned it up,  I looked around the house and found combs, barrettes, brushes and old necklaces to put in the vanity. They played house all day long....I did too. Lots of fun for very little cash, I do love Grandma Days.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Where Do We Put Our Trust

Woke up the other morning, wondering for a moment, what day it was. Husband has been home for the last week and it has made it hard to keep track of the days, they all seem to run together. He has made good use of his time, I have a "honey do" list a mile long, and sweet husband has been busy checking off items on that list. Our garage, which was a nightmare, now has a clear path to my husbands work area, the tools necessary for that "honey do" list, now accessible.

A clear spot to work, but there is still so much more to do and sort through

In our little community you have either been effected by the government shutdown or you know someone who has. I have opinions on this whole thing but I will spare you. The one thing I will say is this....our hope should not be in a political party or who happens to be in office...our hope, as Christians, is in Christ alone. He is our provider, he is where we need to put our trust. Our Pastor reminded us of this scripture the other day

The kings heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will Proverbs 21:1

So who is the one in control here? God is in control. My husband and I have reminded each other the last couple of days that God is sovereign, his plans are always good and he has purposes that we don't always understand.

 The one thing I am learning is that you don't always get the "big picture" when difficulty comes to pay a visit, but I know that God is always good, and his purposes are always good. Sometimes I think our difficulties can also impact the lives of others, I'd like to think there will be some amazing stories once we get to heaven.

Let me assure you, we have been fine ( in fact husband went back to work this morning) this was never a crisis for us, but we have been recipient's of those little voices that tries to instill fear. You know the one's that whispers all the possible scenarios of doom and dread in your ear.

We have had to ask ourselves, What are we putting our trust in? A job, a paycheck, a bank account, a home? You don't always realize those idols are there until they get shaken a bit.

Can I urge you to pray for our leaders and those that are in authority over us?

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and please God our Savior. 1Timothy 2:1-3

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Amazing Sand Sculptures

 Spring and fall are the best times of year for a local to go to the boardwalk at the beach. This past weekend was the Annual International Sand Sculpting Championship. The sculptures are something we have always enjoyed going to see. Years ago it was held out in the open with the ocean in the background, it made for beautiful photos, but it left the sculptures exposed to the elements and rain on occasion had cancelled the event.

A couple of years ago they started putting up a huge tent for the sculptures and portioned off little areas for each artist to work, the nice part about the tent, it protects the sculptures, the bad part, there was now a modest admission fee to view (five dollars and totally worth it) Amateurs had areas portioned off outside the tent but the wind left most of them flattened this year.


Sometimes I look at these sculptures and scratch my head wondering what the artist was trying to communicate...most of the time I just don't get it. I enjoy art but like it even more when I understand what I am looking at. This year when we entered the tent we were handed a sheet of paper with the name of each sculpture and what each one was about....real helpful. 

I was pretty excited when I saw this one, it may not have been the most detailed but I knew what it was about before I even looked at my paper. This sculpture was based on Luke 15:8-10
"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin" In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of angles of God over one sinner who repents"

There was a sheep included in this sculpture that I didn't get in the photo...that was to illustrate the lost sheep, also in Luke 15. 

I have heard all these artist get is a shovel and water to make these sculptures. ( I am sure they have special tools use for the detail work) They do use a special sand, it's finer and mixed with clay, they bring that in for the contest. I am always amazed at the detail in these pieces...they are true works of art. Beautiful don't you think?