Archive for March, 2009

Ten Things on My To Do List

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


This is the topic today for Ten on Tuesday. I’ll just start typing and see what happens:

  1. Purchase a sturdy lap table for my elderly mom to use when she has meals delivered to her room. It’s kind of like a fancy, old-fashioned TV tray.
  2. Purchase or sew curtains for the house. This will have to wait until time and money are available.

  1. Visit Eastern Washington University with daughter Rebecca very soon.
  2. Have lots of work done to the Suzuki Grand Vitara, to the tune of about $600. The car’s problems have something to do with inner tie rods and a valve cover gasket seeping.
  3. Purchase new tires for the same car. The tie rods being bum has ruined the front tires.


  1. Pay property tax before the end of April
  2. Go to the first semi-pro basketball game of the season this Friday!
  3. Bake bread.
  4. Start seeing the new chiropractor a friend at church recommended.
  5. Send my sister the recipe I promised her.


For Debra’s Birthday

Saturday, March 28th, 2009


Rub or mix to fine crumbs:

    3 ¾ cups flour

    3 cups brown sugar

    2 teaspoons salt

    1 cup shortening (or butter)

Reserve ¾ cup of this mixture, combined with ½ tsp. cinnamon, to sprinkle over cake.

Add to remaining crumbs:

    ¾ teaspoon EACH cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda

Add, and mix until smooth:

    1 ½ cups buttermilk (or milk plus 1 Tablespoon vinegar)

    3 eggs, well-beaten

Pour batter into greased and floured 9″x13″ baking pan. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 or more minutes. Test to see if done.


Mix together:

2 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon soft butter

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Enough milk to make icing of proper consistency

Drizzle icing over cake while the cake is still hot.

This is one of Debra’s favorite cakes, and is the one I’ll be baking in just a few minutes. We are going to celebrate her 19th birthday this evening, and, as is our custom, the honored birthday person selects the evening’s menu.

I suppose the nutritional changes that we have been implementing (no shortening use, greatly decreasing sugar use, mainly eating whole grain and fresh foods) must be ignored once in a while!

I wish you a very happy birthday, dear Debra! We’ll have fun ordering books together for your birthday present!

Wordful Wednesday – a Seedy Prize

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie of SevEn cLoWn CirCuS

This week for Wordful Wednesday I just have to share about a wonderful gift I won from my blogging pal, SusieJ.

Last month, Susie had a drawing for $10 worth of seeds from the W. Atlee Burpee Co. The packet includes:

  1. Bush snap beans
  2. Bibb lettuce
  3. Bell peppers
  4. Big Top carrots, which grow up to 8″ long
  5. Super Snappy garden peas
  6. Steak sandwich tomatoes, which produce 10 ounce fruits

Of course to go with my prize seeds I went out and purchased a seed starting tray and some Seed Starting Jiffy Mix. I know the perfect place in the house for this project. By Friday I should have a picture of our living room bay window, transformed into a seed starting station, for Photostory Friday!

This give-away is part of Susie’s effort to encourage folks to take charge of their grocery bills by growing their own fresh produce, as much as possible. Further, she is encouraging us to donate any surplus produce to our local food banks. If you would like to broadcast this effort, just grab a button from Susie’s blog, then blog about it, and grow your garden!

Thank you, Susie, for the seeds. I’m very excited to get started. Usually, we purchase seedlings to plant in the garden, but I think I can do this!




Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, March 23rd, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…March 23, 2009

Outside my Window…is incessant drizzle. In the Pacific Northwest, March showers bring April…showers; April showers bring May showers, and May showers often bring a rainy June as well. Of course, all things green and growing love the moisture, so lovely flowers crop up as well.

I am thinking…that I am up too late, but this is one of my favorite posts to do, so here goes.

From the learning rooms…We are busy getting ready for the 6th grade Science Fair at the middle school. There are always a few stragglers who barely squeak in under the wire. I wish them well!

I am thankful for…daughter Kayla being done with college classes until Spring Quarter. She has been working incredible hours, so we are looking forward to spending more time with her.

From the kitchen…I made some 100% beef homemade hamburgers with all the fixings tonight, much to my husband’s pleasure. He’s about had his fill of my pseudo-meat concoctions.

I am wearing…something neat but boring. School attire.

I am reading…The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook. I’m on Chapter 3 just now, and am learning about the importance of enzymes in the diet.

I am hoping…we can afford to get some major work done on our Suzuki Grand Vitara. First come the property taxes, then the car repairs. I’m also hoping to get my hair styled when our ship comes in.

I am creating…a healthier diet for my family by banishing the 3Ps from the kitchen: Processed, Packaged and Prepared foods (page 80 of The Life Force Diet). It may be difficult to totally banish them. We’ll see.

I am hearing…the click of the doggie’s toenails as she climbs the wooden stairs. This sound means she is going to lie down in our bedroom, which means it’s time for bed.

Around the house…the children are all asleep. Yawn!

One of my favorite things…is helping kids at the Middle School. There’s never a dull moment!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…too many appointments, in fact every day is booked. This evening, youngest son Seth and I enjoyed the Middle School Band Concert. I think the Seventh Grade Band was the best. The sixth graders did quite well, though, and the high point of the eighth grade performance was their drum corps routine. Bravo!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Grandson Diederick can now open doors. Watch out world! I’m sure his momma will keep a good eye on him. He showed me his new skill when his daddy brought over some homemade soup to some of us ‘sickies’ last week.

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

Photostory Friday

Friday, March 20th, 2009

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Today I had to come home two hours early from the school, due to coughing fits. I didn’t feel all that bad, but I couldn’t keep running out of class to cough.

Once I got home, stopped talking so much and had a couple hot drinks, I felt much better.

I called over to our daughter and son-in-law’s place to see if one of them could go to the fundraiser dinner at the middle school tonight in my place. Rick and I were scheduled to attend the 7pm sitting of the crab feed, but no way am I going to something like that when I might need to run out of the room to cough. Turns out Laura will be able to accompany her dad, and get to hear Seth sing as part of the entertainment.

When Darren heard that I wasn’t feeling well, he asked, “You need some homemade chicken noodle soup? I made some.” Before I knew it, Darren was at our place, container of soothing soup in hand.

It was delicious. Hearty. Warming. Soothing. It’s another recipe Darren learned from his dad, but this time he didn’t share the recipe. All I have is this picture for you of Chicken Soup for the Sick Person’s Soul:


Why Word Games?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I have been wondering why it is that I enjoy playing word games so much, especially a Scrabble-take off on Facebook. Lately, after reading my email, this is my activity of choice for relaxation. The time passes too quickly, until I realize that I’ve relaxed enough already, and need to be up and going.

One answer that comes to mind is that I am good at spelling. It makes sense that I would choose to do that which I do well when I am relaxing. I would not be playing softball to relax, for example, because I have never been good at batting or throwing a softball.

Another answer is that I enjoy the activity of fitting the words together like a puzzle, sort of like building a word map. This is the same satisfaction that comes from playing a game of Freecell or Spider Solitaire: putting things in order. This is also the satisfaction that I feel from neatening up the house. So when I’m done neatening in reality (or too tired to do it yet!), I enjoy virtual neatening.

However there are other games which involve spelling or finding words, such as Pathwords and Word Scramble that are not so much fun for me, nor am I that good at them. The added factor there is a TIMER. To me, a timer equals stress, and slows me down. So, an attraction of the Scrabble-type games is that the pace is mine to choose; I find this relaxing.

Not only do I enjoy spelling, I love words. I love the look of certain words, the sounds of words, the origins of words. I do get pleasure delving into the dictionary from time to time. So it does make sense that I enjoy playing with words.

Of course I can’t forget instant gratification. It takes more time and thought and creativity to do a blog post or write a poem. I enjoy doing those things, too, but my focus lately must be on relaxation, because word games have been winning over word crafting!

I am competitive. I like to win! This is something at which I win 63 percent of the time presently, but I know I’m getting better. I also feel like I’m being challenged by the selection of letter tiles before me, to find the best scoring word hiding within them. The friends against whom I play are so good; their skill challenges me, and helps me to improve, too.

Another attraction is that I can chat with my Facebook friends while playing, so it’s a social thing as well. It’s more relaxing to talk to someone about this or that while you’re both busy spelling words. The time passes quite pleasantly.

Maybe next time I’ll do a post about some of the other things I could or should do instead of playing word games, but that’s all for now, folks!

Simply Kind Tuesday

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009


Surprise! Here is something other than a recipe!

It has been quite some time since I have participated in Simply Kind Tuesdays, so I’m doing that this evening.

The aspect of kindness about which I’m thinking this evening is family kindness.

Of course, the source of true kindness within a family is genuine love. If you’ve got that love, way down in your soul, it will come to the surface, somehow.

These are some instances of family kindness that I’ve noticed lately:

  1. When I tried a new recipe that wasn’t an instant ‘favorite’ with my husband, he suggested an addition to the recipe that he would enjoy. He suggested it the next day, not right after I had ‘slaved over a hot stove.’
  2. I feel very loved when my children tell me high points of their days at school.
  3. As a mom, I feel that it as a kindness even when my children share their sorrows and disappointments with me. It helps me know that they realize that I love them and care about them.
  4. It is kind to allay a child’s fears about something, perhaps a health matter, when this is possible, treating him with respect.
  5. Politeness surely goes a long way towards making kindness within the family evident. I remind myself to stop what I’m doing, look at my dear family member, and give him or her my full attention. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you!’, ‘Have a good day!’ and ‘How are you today?’ are all welcome tokens of kindness that I hear.
  6. I am thankful for the many kindnesses I witness my children showing to one another. My daughters often decide together on some fun thing to do, fix one another snacks, and just plain enjoy spending time together.
  7. My husband takes the time to train our youngest son how to work around the house, and also takes the time to toss the football or shoot the basketball with him.
  8. Our oldest son, though terribly busy with job demands, time and again has rescued me from computer problems.

We spend a lot of time with one another. I’m thankful that our home is a place where we all feel welcome, cared for, and appreciated. Kindnesses, little and big, have a lot to do with this agreeable state of affairs.


How about you, Friends? What examples of family kindness rejoice your soul?

Vegetarian Irish Stew

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Vegetarian Irish Stew (Recipe from Melissa Breyer of Care2)

I modified this recipe to use only the ingredients that I had on hand. If you want to try a greater variety of root veggies, click on this link for the original recipe.


2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

1 cup (or more) carrots, sliced

2 cups (or more) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup (or more) celery, diced

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups stout beer

1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

A few sprigs fresh rosemary, or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large soup pot, sauté onions in the oil until translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables with oil.
  2. Add broth, stout, and barley to pot. Add the rosemary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for an hour, or until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened, adding water if necessary.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with bread.

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Sunday, March 15th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…March 15, 2009

Outside my Window…It will soon be dark on this breezy, chill Sunday. We experienced some slushy rain or wet snow early in the day that didn’t stay, but the foothills did keep their fresh coating of snow. Since I am feeling a bit chilled myself, I’m not venturing out for a walk this late in the day, but will continue to appreciate the warmth emanating from our woodstove.

I am thinking…of the sermon we heard this morning on James 1:2-4,

‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’

The world thinks that joy comes from avoiding trials, which makes sense if the goal of one’s life is to be comfortable, healthy and wealthy.

For the Christian, trials are part of one’s sanctification. Though trials are not ‘good’, in and of themselves, they are used of God to:

  1. Deepen our trust in God
  2. Build our character
  3. Teach us discipline, and
  4. Make us more like Christ

From the learning rooms…We para educators at the Middle School are going to receive some training on the 16 ‘Habits of Mind’ of successful learners. At this point, I will simply list the ‘Habits of Mind’ for you:

  1. Persisting
  2. Managing Impulsivity
  3. Listening with understanding and empathy
  4. Thinking flexibly
  5. Metacognition (Thinking About Thinking)
  6. Striving for Accuracy
  7. Questioning and Posing Problems
  8. Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
  10. Gathering Data Through All Senses
  11. Creating, Imagining, Innovating
  12. Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  13. Taking Responsible Risks
  14. Finding Humor
  15. Thinking Interdependently
  16. Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

(This list is from an article by Arthur L. Costa.)

I am thankful for…time to think and reflect, a quiet evening, our dog lying companionably at my feet, and so many more things. The rest of the family are at church this evening, while the two daughters just recovering from flu and I remain at home. I think I’m still well. Every so often I get really chilled, so am trying not to get to close to others, and am washing everything on ‘hot.’

From the kitchen…Today was a ‘day off’ for me, thanks to daughter Laura who showed hospitality to all the members of the family who are well, plus some out-of-town friends who are here for a visit. (Hi, Shawn and Tammy! I enjoyed seeing you this morning at church, and visiting with you both a bit there.)

I am wearing…typical attire for Sunday and this time of year. My clothing themes are COMFORTABLE and MODEST. OK. Here you have it: I’m wearing a deep red stretchy Tee with a black/red/white low-waisted over-blouse, dressy black long-ish skirt, and black leggings.

I am reading…The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook. Think: Lose the 3 Ps:

  1. Processed foods
  2. Packaged foods
  3. Prepared foods

There’s a lot more to the book, but that’s how far I am into it, and must say I feel like I’m learning some valuable information. I have always thought of us as eating a healthful diet, but there’s room for improvement!

I am hoping…to stay well. Each of the children has been sick with this terrible flu. I don’t want it! This is a trial I do not wish to welcome!

I am creating…lots of vegetarian dishes lately (though The Life Force Diet is not a vegetarian book). I personally am cutting back on all animal products, but especially dairy products, to seek to gain control of my slightly ‘over’ blood cholesterol level.

I am hearing…the quiet hum of my husband’s computer, and a daughter coughing upstairs. Did I mention that this flu ends up with a body-wracking, headache-inducing cough? Poor kids.

Around the house…things are looking neat. We’ve been doing some extra cleaning to try to make this a healthier environment. Outside, my husband has the fruit trees pruned. I’ve asked the children to think about what they want planted in our garden this year. My favorite fresh garden veggies are broccoli, zucchini, and leeks. I think we’re also planning on Romaine lettuce and tomatoes. Tomatoes take a lot of TLC to prosper in our cool, short, damp growing season, but we’re going to give it a try!

One of my favorite things…is playing Lexulous on Facebook. This is a spelling game like Scrabble. If you notice that posts have been scarce lately, well…I’ve been relaxing playing Lexulous at the end of a busy day rather than blogging.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…Tomorrow I’ll try to schedule a doctor visit for our 13-year old son to see how badly he injured his nose while (unsuccessfully) doing a flip on a friend’s trampoline late Friday. I was told there was lots and lots of blood, yet he sounded fairly calm when he called home to tell us about the mishap. It didn’t seem like an emergency room issue at the time, but his nose is swollen, and he assures me that it still hurts. So…We’ll see what the doctor has to say.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


This is an old family photo taken at Rick’s parents’ place many summers ago. Five of the children are grown now. Only the youngest four are still at home, and the youngest is 13 years old, and taller than me now.

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

Eggless Scramble

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Eggless Scramble (from The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook)


8 ounces firm tofu, crumbled

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. Celtic sea salt

½ tsp. ground cumin

4 tomatoes, quartered (I used some mild tomato-based salsa instead.)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 small sweet potato, chopped (optional)

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped (I used a green bell pepper.)

(I used some sliced mushrooms also.)

  1. In a bowl, combine tofu, turmeric, salt, and cumin; set aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes; set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat, making sure it doesn’t smoke. Sauté onion until softened. Add sweet potato (if using) and sauté until tender. Add celery and red pepper; sauté until tender. Add seasoned tofu and sauté until heated through. Stir in tomato puree, cover, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through and the flavors have blended.


If you don’t think of this as eggs, it is a delicious, savory dish. I served this with tortilla chips, and shredded cheddar cheese for those who wanted it. It would be delicious over rice also.


The ingredients


The piece de resistance!