Monday, October 31, 2011


I spent the better part of yesterday sore, barely mobile, and wondering what in the world I had done to myself to get that way.

Then.  I.  Remembered.

See those pumpkins?  Yeah, several of them are upwards of sixty pounds each.  They are from my father's amazing garden.  He kindly issued this warning:  "I wouldn't eat them if I were you.  I used plenty of chemicals to get 'em that big."  (Thanks, Dad.) 

That was perfectly fine with me as they were going to welcome visitors on my front porch anyway.

The pumpkins looked so lovely and festive there yet someone (okay, it was me) had the bright idea that they would be the perfect scenery around the big oak tree for a few fall photos of my little darlings. 

Never mind asking for help from dear hubby.  I began hauling pumpkins down the hill and over to the big tree.  Wasn't so bad until I was down to the big three.  Perhaps we can blame this next part on the mid-afternoon slump that comes around 2:30, which normally prompts another coffee break.

I carried the smaller of the three (probably between 50-60 pounds) all the way down.  I was feeling invincible.  Now for the larger two.  I soon figured out there was no way that was going to happen.  So I carefully rolled them down the hill and over to the tree.  (Why didn't I think of that sooner?)

Thankfully, my big, strong sweetheart lugged them back up the hill and to the porch when we were done.

Regardless, I was right.  Perfect scenery.   See?

Time for  another round of Tylenol and coffee...

Happy Halloween!!!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011


I love having all girls.  Three little princesses to dress and cuddle and love to pieces.  We play dress up.  And give makeovers.  And bake in the kitchen.

And there's glitter.  Lots of glitter.  All things girly come sparkly these days... and those sparkles migrate to pretty much everything in the house.

And there's stickers.  I don't know what it is about girls and stickers, but they are inseparable.  I find stickers everywhere.  In the laundry, stuck to the bottom of my socks and when my 2-year-old angel is involved... on the tv screen. 

And there's the snuggle love.  My favorite moment each day is in the evening before bedtime, nestled in with my three darlings and a good storybook.

And oh, the dresses.  If someone in my family were to have a little girl they would be blessed with dresses beyond all imagination.  (So far it's only nephews for me!)  It's impossible for his mama to say no to a pretty frock for my sweethearts.  One peek into their closets would surely reveal my obsession.  Especially Christmas dresses.  (I am embarrassed to say how many I counted in the closets recently...)

So the other day, we were feeling crafty.  (Hubby chuckles every time I say this... because he likes to think by "crafty" I mean scheming and devious.  Go ahead and laugh it up, Honey.)  And we also needed a little something to add to a birthday gift for my daughter's friend.  

We made these hair clips:  Hot glue + silk flowers + bulk hair clips + a button.  
I've seen these anywhere from $5 - $10.  One, maybe.  But times three, they would be out of my budget.  

(The red one is mine, but the girls wanted their flowers big and floofy, of course.)

This doodad was my creative juices leaking out... haven't worn it yet, but I think it could work.

Live long and drink coffee.

 "Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
   The woman to be admired and praised
   is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
   Festoon her life with praises!"
Proverbs 31.30 (MSG)

This post is a part of Creative Juice Thursday .

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Little things.

"Its the little things that matter, that add up in the end, with the priceless thrilling magic found only in a friend."

--Elizabeth Dunphy

Little things.  Can be big things. 

A handwritten note.  An unexpected phone call.  Coffee with a friend.

I find that it is often the minutest of details that seem to matter most. 

Recently I helped to plan a local fall women's event and we chose to hold it at a restaurant.  The place was nice enough, but a few little things here and there truly made the day special for the ladies in attendance.

Bright, colorful oak leaves (from the craft store), acorns (gathered by my girlies from the yard) and these adorable little acorn treats strewn about the tables was the perfect touch.  Simple.  Perfect.

I saw a picture of these  treats floating around facebook and immediately took mental note of it.  I could not find it again no matter how hard I tried.  I do not know who to credit for this nifty idea, but will gladly do so if and when I become aware of it.  These were so easy and the women raved about them for days!  My little girls were crazy about them, too.  Great fall activity for the kids!

Edible Acorn Treats

Hershey's kisses
Mini Nutter Butters (or Ritz Bitz crackers)
Mini chocolate Chips

1.  Unwrap the Hershey's kisses and separate the Nutter Butters so you are all set to go.
2.  Melt down some of the mini chocolate chips.  I prefer the stove top, but this could easily be done in the microwave, too.  (Be careful not to burn the chocolate!)
3.  Dip the large end of the Hershey's kiss into the melted chocolate.  Place Nutter Butter on top of the melted chocolate.  Dip mini chocolate chip into chocolate and attach to the top.  

Voila!  Edible acorns!

(Note:  For those with peanut allergies, use a Ritz Bitz cracker in place of the Nutter Butter.)

"If you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things..."
Luke 16.10a (MSG)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

There and back.

Life happens.  And when it does, it takes precedence (as it should).  I blog about life, rather than live to blog... thus the unusual several-days-long absence.

These last few days have required abundant amounts of coffee, but I am alive.  And I am well.  It's been busy.  And good.  Good-busy.  But even good-busy can be bad.  (Is anyone still with me???)  Moving on...

In the midst of all this good-busy-ness, I was fortunate to be offered an amazing opportunity.  I and my family were invited to a FREE cooking class hosted by a local Bed & Breakfast under some sort of special grant (from the county, I think?).  I was lost on a few of the details.  (All I heard was "free" and "food" and "family" and after the week I'd just had, that was good enough for me.)
(Cleaning up a dozen raw eggs off the kitchen floor. And the 2-year-old.  Or a jumbo-sized box of baking soda.  Or Sharpie marker off of a little face.  And that was just one day.  When does age 2 end again?)

My dear husband did not seem all that interested so he opted to stay home with my darling little one.  (Probably a wise choice given the havoc she had already created in my own kitchen last week...)

So a date with my two big girls!  We were pleasantly greeted by three sweet ladies at the B&B who put us to work in the kitchen right away.  (This B&B also happens to be a licensed restaurant so it was especially interesting to get to work in their kitchen!)

The Menu:

Appetizer pizza
Whole grain pasta 
Vegetable salad 
Zucchini bread
Ratatouille (which I have always wanted to try since I saw the movie!!!)
Fruit parfaits

After going over the rules of the kitchen, I was assigned to tomato duty, dicing loads of local homegrown tomatoes.  They were the last of the summer crop.  So ripe, gushy, and red.  Perfect!  On of my girls began snipping fresh basil for the No-Cook Tomato Sauce, while the other one peeled carrots and cucumbers for the salad.  Another family went to work on the zucchini bread.

I forgot my "good" camera (calling it good is being very generous) but I was able to get a few decent photos of our day on my cell phone (also badly in need of an upgrade).

Patiently waiting for the peeler to work on a kiwi for the fruit parfait.

 The little one was super thrilled about the fruit parfaits. (And, perhaps, the fact that she was going to measure out the yogurt all by herself.  Yikes.  Something I would probably never let happen at home.  But probably should.) 

 Assembling the Ratatouille...

 Back to work on the fruit parfaits.

 Success!!!  She really liked everything on the menu.

 She was happy, too, and ate everything!

While the food was cooking and baking, the ladies at the B&B taught the kids how to properly set the table, then talked to them about nutrition, whole grains, etc.  I especially appreciated the fact that everything we made was homegrown and local.  I didn't really know what to expect from this experience beforehand so this was truly a pleasant surprise.  As a bonus, they sent us home with all the recipes and packaged leftovers.  (Yay!)

At the end of the day, the ladies asked for feedback and I had plenty!  They are looking into doing this kind of thing in the future, but at a small cost to families.  What an incredible way to learn new, wholesome recipes, while spending precious time with family.  I am sooo in on this.

This was by far one of my favorite days ever spent with my girls and they enjoyed every minute.  I still can hardly believe that they ate all of those vegetables in the ratatouille!

I loved the recipe for the No-Cook Tomato Sauce.  This is an amazingly versatile (and quick!) recipe that is most definitely being added into my recipe repertoire.  We used this sauce on the appetizer pizza, tossed with whole-grain pasta, and also tossed with the vegetable salad.  It could also be used as a base for Ratatouille (although we used something different at the B&B) or to make Bruschetta.

6 large fresh tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4. tsp. kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

1.  Chop tomatoes into a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients.  Toss gently.
2.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours.  Toss with pasta, use on pizzas or make bruschetta or simply eat.  Could also be used as a base for salad, soup or salsa or as a sauce for baked chicken or Swiss steak.

(Letting the sauce stand allows for the flavors to fully come together.)

Check my Recipes to find these and many other great recipes!

  "For God is sheer beauty,
   all-generous in love,
      loyal always and ever."
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who approved this?

"Kid Tested, Mother Approved."

Or so they say.  I just came home with a full box of Kix cereal.  My kids (and my sweet, adorable husband) begged me.  And now I remember why it has been so long since the last time I made this mistake.  (Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice... well I guess we know where the blame lies.)

Exactly which mother approved this???

I'd like her name, number and address, please.  

I don't care how healthy it is.  Any woman who would condone the likes of a cereal that is shaped like a little ball really should be hauled away to the insane asylum (or maybe she just missed her morning coffee).

Top 3 Reasons:

1.  They are round.  This means they roll.  It doesn't matter if you are 2, 7, or 32... they will inevitably end up on the floor.  And they will roll to kingdom come.  And I will be finding those dreadful balls for weeks on end.

2.  They are round.  (Redundant, yet highly relevant.)  My broom sends them rolling at warp speed every which way, but the right way.  My vacuum will not suck them up.  They are just big enough that they simply get pushed around the floor.  The hose attachment fares no better, as it clogs every time.  Perhaps this is a fatal flaw by my vacuum manufacturer, but a travesty none-the-less.  

3.  They are round (Oh, did I already mention this?)

Sorry, kids (and Sweetheart).  Oatmeal has been reassigned to the breakfast menu until further notice.

Decaf?  No, it's dangerous to dilute my caffeine stream. 

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Going to town.

I grew up in town.  Not a big town.  Not a small town.  A good medium-sized town.  I was a town kid.

And all my life, I wanted to say this.  "Family, I'm going to town."  You know, like I lived out in the boonies frolicking around the farm with a happy cow or something.  That may seem a strange wish, but there was something pleasant, simple, and down-homey about it. 

Then, I moved to the city.  And then a bigger city.  And I loved it. 

I grew up in Iowa.  And I returned to Iowa, yet country life remains something of a mystery to me.  There are days where I think I would love to take my sweet little family out into the middle of nowhere and just... be.  Away from the noise.  Away from the sights.  Just away.

But then I think about the smells.  And oh, the aroma of the country.  Then I remember that maybe I am not quite ready for that.  And now I live in a small Iowa town... again.  A smaller town than before, but town it is!

And I hang in the balance... a city girl in a small town, longing for country quiet.

But now when I do drive into the city, I wrangle up my herd of kidlets and say, "Family, we're going to town!"  Nevermind, we are only going for a dentist appointment... it's going to be a big-city adventure.

Ah, the city.  Where everything is so exciting... and expensive.  But I have my ways.

My 3 essential freebie stops whenever we go to "town":

1.  The mall.  Free play for my girls in the play place and in the Barnes & Noble kids' area before the hour-long drive home.

2.  Starbucks.  I am fortunate that my favorite coffee joint is in my favorite mall.  Bring in an empty Starbucks Coffee bag and get a free Tall Brewed Coffee (12 oz.)  (I seem to have a steady supply of empty Starbucks bags...)

3.  Godiva.  I am even more fortunate that my favorite chocolate store is next door to my favorite coffee joint in my favorite mall.  I and my three little princesses stop here next to get our free chocolate sample.   Sign up for the free membership club and then additionally receive one free truffle a month! 

Coffee, chocolate, and happy, tired kids that will sleep all the way home... and it's back to the "homestead" for us. 

Oh, who am I kidding?  Townie forever.  

This post is a part of the Frugal Tuesday Tip.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Creature Comforts.

"Knitting, he thought, was a comfort to the soul. It was regular. It was repetitious. And, in the end, it amounted to something"

--Father Tim from At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

There is a certain comfort to be found in the familiar.  A steamy morning coffee.  An old song laden with memories.  A dependable friend.  

And today is a noteworthy day in my little world.  Eleven years ago, I began the most remarkable of journeys with "my dependable friend."  

It's our date-aversary.  

Perhaps we are among only a handful of couples that celebrate the anniversary of our first date, but it's a pretty big day in my mind.  Without it, there certainly would have been no wedding and no children.  We spent the day at an apple orchard in Minnesota and then he took me to Applebee's.  (We love apples... and by association, Applebee's.)

I don't write about my stellar husband very often and I think he prefers it that way.  

Because of the nature of his line of work, we frequently moved around the country early on in our marriage (four states... one of them twice).  We soon learned that no matter what happens, what relationships are formed, what connections are made, the only thing we took with us when we moved was each other.  We made a decision to more intentionally invest in our relationship and our marriage, because in the end, it would amount to something.

This road has not been perfect.  It has not been easy.  But I would gladly do it all over again.  

(We know a married couple that claims they never have an argument, but instead engage in "intense fellowship."  Beautifully stated.  I must admit there has been a little "intense fellowship" along the way, but I suppose that is how we keep things interesting.)

I choose to love this man.  Every day.  Even when I don't feel like it. (Even after he has forgotten to rinse out his cereal bowl.  Again.)  And I am grateful he chooses to love me back.  (Even after I forgot to iron his Sunday shirt.  Again.) 

It's a beautiful partnership.  I respect his work, his provision, and his leadership.  And he loves me.  No matter what. 

And then there's the coffee.  Our mutual love for this celestial brew is unmatched.  You are a treasure, my dependable friend.

I love you madly.

"Hang my locket around your neck,
   wear my ring on your finger.
Love is invincible facing danger and death.
   Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.
The fire of love stops at nothing—
   it sweeps everything before it.
Flood waters can't drown love,
   torrents of rain can't put it out.
Love can't be bought, love can't be sold—
   it's not to be found in the marketplace."

Song of Solomon 8.6-7 (MSG)
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

World Food Day. #BAD11

Today is the day.  

It's World Food Day.  A worldwide event designed to increase awareness and understanding.  It's a call to year-round action to alleviate hunger.

It's also Blog Action Day, which quite intentionally coincides with World Food Day this year.

Food is powerful.  

Food sustains life.  Food unites.  Food brings joy.  

This is evidenced at any American Thanksgiving table or in the sweetness of a lunch with a dear friend.

But it is also a luxury that so many do not know.  I revel in the food choices I am afforded every day.  Salad or sandwich?  Chicken or steak?  Apple or peach?  While worldwide, children beg for a mere cup of rice of a handful of beans.

I am something of a food snob.  I readily admit that.  I take pleasure in my organics and I love full flavors.  However, I am astonished that the same $8.00 that buys me 15 deliciously organic apples could have purchased 25 fruit trees for farmers in Honduras to grow and sell fruit at their local market.  Wow.  Now that's perspective.

So how does this bit of knowledge translate into everyday life?

It is why on the top of my refrigerator sits a metal canister with a picture of a starving African child pasted on it's side.  It reminds me that I am fortunate.  On the days when I cannot afford a fancy dinner date with my husband, and I am relegated to the kitchen to "slave" over a hot stove, I don't really have it all that bad.  As I empty my pockets at the end of each day to "feed" this child atop my fridge, I am reminded that perhaps I could empty more of myself, by serving those in need.

It is why I support organizations like Convoy of Hope, who are currently serving more than 100,000 children in seven different nations, by providing nutritious meals and clean, safe water.  They are also involved in the education of community leaders, teaching them agricultural techniques and setting up healthy living environments.

It is why I care.  And I am oh-so-thankful for what I have. And I hope my children will truly understand how good they have it around here.

"Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." 
Luke 6.28 (MSG) 

I'd stop drinking coffee, but I'm no quitter...

I am proud to take part in Blog Action Day Oct 16, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beauty begins in the kitchen.

 "Mom, your dancing is weird, but I still think you're pretty."

Out of the mouths of babes, am I right?  That's what I heard from my little 4-year-old recently as I was fixing breakfast (and preparing my daily joe) to the tune of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.  She's my diplomatic child.  Always sweetening the facts of life.  Apparently, my old high school show choir moves just aren't cutting it anymore.  (My oldest princess said something similar about my super cool moves last week:  Upside Down and Sideways.  What gives?)

But she still thinks I am pretty.  Whew!  Perhaps I'm doing something right...

I used to think I had sensitive skin.  But once I became aware of all the chemicals that I was using on my skin (face wash, moisturizers, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, etc.), I realized that perhaps I was instigating my own skin problems.

After doing a little research, I found some super (and simple!) alternatives that were better for my skin than many expensive serums and potions and get this... infinitely cheaper(And who isn't trying save a buck these days?)  Most of the ingredients can be found in my own kitchen at any given time and my skin has never looked or felt better (My Sadie agrees, so it must be true.)

Here are a few of the essentials in my beauty regimen:

Puffy Eye Potion
Drink 1 - 2 cups of coffee each day!   (There is a method to my madness... and yes, I had to go there.)

Caffeine from coffee is considered to be a blood vessel constrictor.  It reduces dark eye circles and puffy eyes.  No joke.  It's also believed to aid in rosacea!

Gentle Facial Scrub
1/2 c. powdered goat's milk (Available at most health food stores or online.  I use the Meyenberg brand.)
1/2 c. baby oatmeal (I like to use organic.) or 1/2 c. oatmeal

If using regular oatmeal, process in a blender or food processor until very fine. I like to use the baby oatmeal because I can skip a step!  Store in an airtight container (recycled glass jars are pretty and perfect!). 

To cleanse face, sprinkle a small amount of powder into the palm of your hand and mix into a paste with warm water. Massage onto face and rinse.

Goat's milk and the extra fat it contains is great for your skin.  (Probably the only time you will ever hear that extra fat is a good thing.)  Most powdered cow's milk is fat-free so it is not as nourishing for your skin.  This is a natural, gentle exfoliant and perfect moisturizer.

Honey Refresher
Apply 1 - 2 drops of honey onto a wet palm and massage onto face. Do not rinse. Pat dry. 

I love the way this makes my skin glow!  It's not as bad as it sounds.  If your fingers and palm are wet, your face will not be sticky.  Honey helps fight aging and plumps up fine lines.  Can't argue with that!

Honey is also a great treatment for razor burn! 

A baby food jar is perfect for storing the right amount in your bathroom.

Olive Oil Moisturizer & Eye Makeup Remover
Place 2 - 3 drops of extra-virgin, organic olive oil onto your palm. Rub palms together and pat face gently.

Don't worry!  You won't feel greasy... if you do, use less the next time.  I dip 2 fingers into the oil and gently massage into my fingers on both hands before patting onto my face.  

Can be used as a rich cuticle oil and to moisturize hands, too!

Olive oil is also the perfect, natural way to remove eye makeup.  Apply with a cotton ball.  It's that simple.

Olive oil is packed with nutrients that moisturize the skin without blocking pores and also fights premature aging. 

A baby food jar is also a great way to store olive oil in your bathroom.

Baking Soda Exfoliator
To exfoliate the face, place a quarter-size amount of baking soda in the palm of your hand.  Add just enough warm water to make a paste.  Gently apply all over face and rinse.  Use 1 - 2 times each week for a youthful glow.

Body Scrub
1 c. olive oil or almond oil  (Jojoba or grapeseed work well, too.)
1/2 c. sea or kosher salt  (You can also use sugar, which is gentler for sensitive skin.)
5 - 15 drops of essential oils  (I like lavendar & vanilla or peppermint & orange.)

Add salt or sugar first, then mix in the oil. The mixture should be moist enough to clump together, but not overly oily. Then add essential oils. Its fun to experiment with new combinations! Store in a plastic or glass jar. Use all over 1 - 2 times a week in the shower.

This scrub improves circulation and exfoliates, leaving skin soft and smooth.

Nourishing Hair Care

To shampoo and cleanse the hair:

Add about 1 tablespoon baking soda and stir mix in about 1 cup warm water.  You can tweak the measurements to your own preference.  Those with curly or thick hair might need a bit more baking soda.  Fine, straight hair might need less.

Apply to wet hair, starting at the scalp and working throughout hair.  After a few minutes, rinse.  

Baking soda is very gentle, has a weak alkaline and clarifies without building up. 

To condition and detangle:

Add 1 tablespoon to once cup water and mix well.  Apply to hair focusing on the ends.  Leave in for about a minute and rinse.

Apple cider vinegar detangles, seals the hair cuticles, and balances the the hair's ph level.

I admit that I was not brave enough to try this for a long time, but once I did I was astonished at the results.  This treatment is also great for color-treated hair.  I have found that it keeps my highlights looking vibrant and fresh.

Give the Gift of Natural Beauty
When prettied up in an attractive container or jar, these recipes make fabulous gifts.  I have given the scrubs and facial care many times for Christmas and birthdays!  I like to make personalized labels or tags and embellish with ribbons, raffia, and vintage buttons.  So many possibilities!

Happy Thursday!
Back to the coffee... and working on my puffy tired eyes for the rest of the day.

"Your beauty, within and without, is absolute, dear lover, close companion."
Song of Solomon 7.6 (MSG)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Season of change.

It is nearly the middle of October, yet the cool, fall temperatures remain elusive here in the Heartland.  At this point, I desire little more than to be drowning in a warm, oversized sweater with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a cozy book in the other.

"Autumn, you are late to your own party.  The trees are already colored for you..."

I adore the season of change.  I love the winding down of the year.  I welcome the vibrant colors.  Now, if it could just be colder...

This time of year also awakens in me a sense of renewal, inviting me to purge my house, my closet... my life!  Almost like spring cleaning.  But not.  Knowing full well that I will likely be spending a lot more time in my house with winter coming on, it seems a good time to get things in order.

So I've started by changing batteries.  LOTS of batteries.  Funny how you can give a something new life just by changing the batteries.  (Yes, even for Dead-Batty-Dora!)  After lying unnoticed in a dark corner for months, suddenly, Baby Alive is beloved again.  A flashlight stands ready to serve.  An old clock is again useful. 

Generally, I use rechargable batteries.  Especially AAs, because those seem to be most popular these days.  Often times, though, we still have the other kind laying around and I have decided to get the most out of every single one. 

A "dead" battery may not have enough juice to power a camera or get Elmo to giggling, but its probably not truly dead.  I toss spent batteries into an old shoe box marked "Clock Batteries."  Clocks require very little power to run and will run for a long time on a supposedly dead battery I have pulled out of an old toy.  Batteries cost good money so make 'em count 'til the last drop!

So while I anticipate the true arrival of fall, I pour another cup, fall wardrobe at the ready, and I smile...

Do I like my coffee black? There are other colors? 

This post is a part of the Frugal Tuesday Tip.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Home Run.

The weekend turned out like a dream.  Restful Saturday.  Perfect Sunday.  Like hitting a home run (minus the screaming fans, beefy hot dogs and the smell of stale popcorn.)

And now it's Monday, and for some bizarre reason I am ready for it.  Coffee in hand, I dare say I feel almost invincible.  Nevermind the meetings, housework, and chauffeur duty that lay ahead of me.  I even contradicted my "I-am-not-a-short-order-cook" maxim and made four different kinds of sandwiches for lunch today (tuna, turkey, peanut butter & honey, and a sloppy joe!). 

And on tonight's menu is one my favorites (and so easy I could cry tears of joy). Good day.


Ravioli with Garlic Herb Oil

1 20 oz. package refrigerated or frozen 4-cheese ravioli
¼ c. olive oil
1 large clove garlic, sliced
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. each snipped chives and minced parsley
¼ tsp. salt

1. Bring a 5 - 6 qt pot of salted water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook as package directs; gently drain and return to pot.

2. Meanwhile, put oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes in a 1 qt. saucepan. Heat over medium heat until garlic turns light golden; remove from heat.

3. Add garlic oil mixture to pot with ravioli. Add chives, parsley and salt; toss to coat ravioli.

Serve with garlic bread and a light salad.

"This is God's work.
We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted—
let's celebrate and be festive! "

Psalm 118.23-24 (The Message)

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Saturday, October 8, 2011


I did not know it was a problem.  I did not know it was quite this intense.  I did not know what it had become. 

I.  Did.  Not.  Know.  Until...

The seething pain began pounding into my brain, much like someone hammering a nail right between the eyes.  For twenty-four hours.  Relentless.

It's official, everyone... I'm addicted to caffeine.  Without coffee, apparently I am useless (and according to my husband, a trifle grumpy, too.)

Perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising (this is a coffee-themed blog, after all), however, I was still caught off-guard.

Yesterday, we were running late for a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  I skipped the coffee simply because there was no time, and thought nothing of it.  Fast forward two hours, as I am riding a jaunty little choo choo train around the pumpkin patch, my brain in protest from lack of caffeine, and I just wanted to find a dark corner and curl up in the fetal position until the pestilence had passed. 

No such luck.

By the time we arrived home, it was much too late to drink coffee (I do like to sleep eventually) and I was still trying to convince myself that my ailment was the result of dehydration.

A handful of dark chocolate took the edge off as I prepared for bed, but I awoke again this morning with a Goliath headache.

Two Tylenol and one cup of joe later... all is well.

Perhaps it's time to cut back?  Probably.  But, no thanks. 

Decaffeinated coffee is the devil's blend. 

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Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Thankful to be alive.  Thankful for a fresh day.  Thankful for the warm coffee cup in my hand.  Thankful that my past does not dictate my future.

Yesterday was... less than ideal.  I spent a full day in the city with meetings, dentist appointments, and a GPS (whom we have affectionately named, Susan) that sent me through an old, abandoned parking lot named "36th Street" en route to the aforementioned dentist appointments (which we were already late for) and tried to convince me the dentist office was located in a residential area.  Most of the time "Susan" is helpful.  And most of the time she is my friend.  Yesterday, however, I would rather have tossed her out the window, never looking back.

By the time we arrived back home, my little darlings were of sour disposition and mama was just plain tired.  We were barely home for 10 minutes before the toilet was clogged and my toddler had dumped an entire glass of water down the heat register.   Oh boy.

But this pretty much made my day:  "Draw a Stick Man"

Now it's nap time.  And coffee break.  And I have chocolate.  Things are already looking up.

Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee. ~Stephanie Piro

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 Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans.

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