Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Today's Cuteness

But, there are so many . . .




How did this happen?

Smile with me!

Mary

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A New Week

We have had a couple days of refreshing rains and I would like to apply that to my life as a metaphor. The past week has been filled with anger, rage, shock, pain and total despair over a situation that is totally unrelated to anything I have ever written about or experienced.

Tomorrow, I will be arranging for some professional help to work through the myriad of emotions I am experiencing. This situation has literally "stopped me in my tracks". I have not done anything at all this week other than go to one medical appointment which meant that I actually had to put clothes on for one day!

It is time to open the window shades and sign up for life again. Even with the rains there are many colors showing up in the garden. Many flowers and plants have drooped their rain laden heads but more blossoms will be popping up. The weather is suppose to be warmer this week and the sun will shine brightly. Sunshine is an excellent medicine for me.

I hope you have a Joyous Sunday and week.

I'll try to check in at least once a week.

Blessings

Mary


Monday, April 21, 2014

Rewritten And Rewritten And Rewritten

I do not know how to write this post. So, I will take the high road and not write about Easter 2014.

I honestly hope that all of you had an enjoyable weekend, whatever you chose to do.

I am thankful for my sweet little doggie, Lily and her forever love.

Our lovely weather here in California is such a blessing. I  think it would be best if I sit outside in the warm sunshine during some of the day.

It's just my life.

Mary


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

And I Thought I Was Busy


Motherhood is Hard Work.


The kids (I mean Chicks) climb all over you!

SMILE.

Mary


Friday, April 18, 2014

Hippity Hoppity


It won't be long and The Bunny will be here!

And, I hope I am still able to Hippity Hoppity!

             My Easter Menu is - - - - -

* Deviled Eggs, Sweet Pickled Beets and Giardiniera
* Mixed Nuts
* Chips and Dip
* Mini Toasts with Boursin Cheese

* Honey Glazed Ham
* Gruyere Cheese Souffle
* Sauteed Asparagus with Prosciutto
* Celery Water Chestnuts Casserole
* Pineapple Casserole
* Four Bean Salad
* Waldorf Salad

* Caramel Pecan Cream Pie

I'll take pictures. It may be the last "big spread" I am able to do. But, I am enjoying every minute!


I am really loving my garden. Everyday, there is a surprise with something new blooming. Today, I planted some petunias, pansies, geraniums and gerbera daisies in pots for the patio. When they get settled-in they will be so pretty and colorful.  I could not resist when the prices were exceptionally good. Plus, it's therapy, ya know!

Mary


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Little Decorating In A Little Home


There are so few surfaces to play with for decorating in this little house. Do you know the expression "I just shopped around my house." That is exactly what I did. But, I also can shop in my garage because there are lots of goodies out there for decorating that probably will be sold. Of, course that depends on how much makes its way back into the little house.

This humongous faux seashell has been in my bathroom so I borrowed it for the entry hall just for Easter. Today, I visited the Dollar Store and it was worthwhile. I have been there once before and it has doubled in size. They must be doing well. And, it is within walking distance of my house.


Have you ever said "no" to eggs filled with M&M's?


Looking from the front door into the entry hall.


Now - Let's all smile.



What are these things?

I have been very busy every single day for quite some time now. Doing all of the Easter preparations of shopping, cooking, baking, house cleaning and some garden work has left me a little weary. Oh, and  throw in a few medical appointments. I have been trying to take good care of myself by taking a little nap every afternoon. It sure helps. Nonetheless, I am tired. But, I know it is worth it.

The Easter Bunny is coming!         I PROMISE!

Mary


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Dinner 2013

Last Easter was a very quiet and simple Easter, but nonetheless I enjoyed preparing a nice meal for Three of us. Since my close friend did not have plans I encouraged her to join us for our Easter Ham dinner. I made some new recipes that we liked very much. One was a cauliflower cheese vegetable and another was a celery water chestnut vegetable dish. Along with asparagus and salad we had plenty to eat. Oh, and dessert. 




It was a Simple but very Enjoyable meal. The Cook's spiral sliced (bone-in) hickory smoked honey Ham was so good that I plan to use the same brand again this year.

Many things to do today. Must do some grocery shopping, medical consultation appointment and those annoying miscellaneous errands.

Hug Someone today.

Mary

Monday, April 14, 2014

Two Of My Most Favorite People

I think they look FABULOUS!


(April 13, 2014)

All dressed to celebrate with friends who got married during the weekend. My "Grandbabygirl" is truly all grown up! There's no doubt about it!


It is HAPPENING!

(click to enlarge)












I Wish You a Wonderful Day.

Mary


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

(google image)


(Palm Sunday 2013)

Blessings To All!

Mary


Saturday, April 12, 2014

It Is Happening

The Garden is finally HAPPENING!  I have been trying to be patient.  I have heard "Patience is a virtue". I'm trying.

(click to enlarge)

This is the view from my dining room window. Isn't this going to look fabulous when all those flowers that are still in bud - open!

I am off to do some weeding at my Church. It is Garden Work Day.


Late (10 PM) last night I decided to bake Congo Bars to take over to the church for munchies! I'm sure there will be other goodies to snack on. It is nice that these do not take as much time to make as cookies.

Congo Bars are like chocolate chip cookies with semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped walnuts and, of course, cut into bars. It is a recipe from the 1950's. They were a favorite at the time because they packed well for shipping packages to the Armed Forces in Korea and other areas overseas.

I hope you have a Beautiful Day.

Mary

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Traveling Back In Time - Especially Military - Cooking

As I have mentioned in a recent post, I am using what is on the shelf in the pantry or in the refrigerator as much as possible in an effort to stretch my budget and to avoid throwing food out. I have been wanting to use the jar of Armor Dried Beef and was thinking of possibly making Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast which occasionally I ate as a child. It was very economical. If you are "old enough" and were around men that had been in the military, you may recall hearing it called SOS which is something that was served quite frequently in the mess hall at the military bases. I recall hearing my brothers who all served in the Army talking about it and laughing about the name "_____ On A Shingle" but not in my mother's presence. It was a meal that got mixed reviews. Some fellows who served in the Armed Forces liked it a lot and some never wanted to lay eyes on it or eat it again if they could avoid it!


Actually, there are quite a few recipes where you can use sliced dried beef. The only other recipe that I was aware of is Appetizer Cheese Ball that is either rolled in chopped dried beef or added into the cheese ball mixture.

The Garden Forum website has some interesting info about dried beef. In some communities (i.e. ranching/farming) it is available sliced fresh at the deli. The Armor website also has recipes and information.

OK, I ended up making a White Sauce and then I added a goodly amount of prepared horseradish which I have not done in the past. Then I mixed in the beef  which can be sauteed in a little butter to soften it. I just learned about the sauteing on the websites. I had about one cup of frozen carrots and peas in the freezer. So, I tossed them in and simmered until the veggies were defrosted and everything was well heated. Add salt and pepper or other seasoning to taste and serve over toast.


It was good, not fabulous, but good. I like it best with white bread toast like potato bread. Homemade biscuits would be good, too. Like biscuits and sausage gravy.

Today, I am off to see the Ophthalmologist for my eye exam. I am almost a year overdue and I need new glasses and I have been having sharp left eye pain! Life was so hectic that I got behind in all of my routine medical appointments. I am getting caught up and I have been poked, squeezed (it always hurts!) stuck with needles and looked at all over. I still need to schedule an appointment with the Dentist.

Take Good Care of Yourself.

Mary

Vintage Souffle Bakeware And Local Cheesemonger


Out in the garage I came across this lovely Souffle Bowl. No, I haven't started cleaning the garage. Probably after Easter time. This was going to go in a sale, but most likely not since I am really in the groove of cooking. I remember buying this when I made my first souffle, probably in the late 60's. A nice explanation of a souffle is from My Mothers Apron Strings website. She tells us that the word souffle is French and means to "blow up" or "puff up" which it does by whipping the egg whites separately from the yolks to a stiff meringue, then folded in gently.

Anyway, a Cheese Souffle is on my Easter Ham menu. And, I am giving myself license to drift outside my budget for the holiday. So, I walked downtown to Main street to visit the Lavender Ridge Cheese Market.

Murphys is a special little place that has many very talented and impressive citizens. Yes, we are fortunate to have our very own cheesemonger. Judy Creighton, is a Certified Cheese Professional, cheese educator and consultant who has owned two San Francisco cheese shops and has served as a judge at American Cheese Society. She is Cheese Program Director at Lavender Ridge Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills, and currently serves on the board of the California Artisan Cheese Guild, is guest lecturer at School of Restaurant Hospitality, City College of San Francisco, and Cheese School of San Francisco. What an impressive portfolio!


I am going to use Gruyere De Comte cheese this time. In the past (long time ago) I always used sharp Cheddar Cheese because that is what my Betty Crocker's cook book recipe said to do.


Wish me luck with my souffle. One must pay close attention when making one and "my oven" doesn't always behave nicely. It should go very well since I am now very relaxed in my kitchen and I'm not being instructed how I should do everything! Life is good and I am loving it. ;>)

I am off to my "Knitters and Hookers" group today. 

Mary

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A Special Request


This past Sunday, I was visiting with a lovely lady who joined our church a few years ago and she regularly sings in the choir. She lives thirty to forty minutes drive from the church. On a Sunday morning, in my opinion, that is a long drive! And, of course there are weekday rehearsals in the evening. I met her when she first started to come to our church. I have always made a special effort to welcome "new faces" to the church when I notice people that I have not met.
 
For about six months of time during this past year I did not attend church services. It is taking me a while to catch up with my church friends. I have not been active in a lot of church activities for health reasons.  However, I was the person who regularly sent cards in the mail to those who are ill, injured, in Care Facilities, experiencing difficult times or anyone who we think might benefit from receiving a message of encouragement and prayer.

Anyway, I was deeply saddened and shocked to hear that the husband of my friend experienced a Severe Stroke this past November! He is 72 years old. I have not personally met him but I feel like I know him. Primarily, because he has been an editorial contributor to our little local newspaper. I commented to his wife that I had missed his newspaper contributions. And, that is when she told me of The Stroke.

He is a very well educated man of whom I have always enjoyed his writings. Along with Special Ops Veteran and many impressive employment positions and accomplishments, prior to retirement, he spent the last 27 years as Curator Emeritus/Consultant at The Smithsonian Institute of Museums and Museum Management and Planning, Transportation/Rail Operations and Economics retiring in 2010.

He is making slow progress (which is customary) in his recovery and on Sunday afternoon they were going to have their first social outing and to a concert.  She shared her excitement with me regarding his noteworthy progress and their outing!

Please send Positive Energy their way and Prayers are certainly welcome.


Mary

Monday, April 07, 2014

Thinking and Thanking


I've been Thinking and Thanking! I had a Wonderful weekend. In fact, the past week was really good. I have met some new people and shared happiness and fun with others. One heartfelt joy is the offer from an acquaintance who is very skilled to assist me with household maintenance if I need a helping hand. However, there was one caveat! And, that is great with me. I have no problem walking away until the project is finished. It is such a gift to be able to have that freedom. How wonderful to not even have to think about what it going on or paying. It will be like magic! Just the offer of help is a Nice Blessing!

My blogging will be sporadic for a couple weeks as I need time to prepare for Easter Celebration with family. I have some heavy housework that MUST be done. And, I am trying to discipline myself to get it done soon so there is no last minute rush.

And, then I can focus on my menu which I always enjoy. If I am smart I will plan ahead in such a way that the day prior to Easter will be relaxing and the process of the holiday will be enjoyable and not stressful. It is all in my hands, right! More on the menu later.

Hope your day is Joyous.

Mary

Friday, April 04, 2014

Lunch For One And Budget Progress

This is a healthy, quick and tasty soup. With our current weather of rains every few days it just feels right to prepare some soup now and then.  It was especially nice that I had all of the ingredients in the pantry/refrigerator when I read the recipe while perusing  a stack of pages of copied recipes. I do not think I have ever made soup with canned tuna. Be sure, to use the best quality of solid tuna you can. I have been using more cannellini beans than in the past and I am liking them in soups, especially. The seasonings are a nice combination and the kale flavor is very subtle.

 TUNA, WHITE BEAN AND KALE SOUP  

(website image)
And, this is how it really looks. 
The importance of proper lighting when taking photos.


My Lunch For One posts are starting to look like Tablescapes that have become so popular on blog land. 


I think these dishes are so pretty. They are called Clematis by Red Vanilla. I have only soup bowls with base plates and salad plates. I can mix them nicely with my every day Mikasa Mixima (super strong) china Belle Terre.


Can you see the Bunny napkin ring?

 TUNA, WHITE BEAN AND KALE SOUP  

from www.closetcooking.com 

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans solid white tuna, drained and broken into bite sized chunks
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bunch kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the broth, beans, tuna, Italian seasoning, fennel and paprika, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and simmer until it wilts, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the parmesan, let it melt and season with salt and pepper to taste before removing from heat.

Option: Replace the kale with spinach, swiss chard, etc.
Option: Add a dash or 2 of fish sauce!
Note: You can replace the Italian seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon thyme.
Tip: Try not to over-stir so that the tuna does not break apart and you still have nice large chunks.

This is really good soup. I hope you will try it. Let me know how you like it.


Meet Mr Owl Budget

I am finding more ways to enhance my budget. 

Lily is due for a vaccine booster at the Veterinary Office. I can take her to the vaccine clinic (held once a month and less expensive) since she has seen the Vet during this past year. 

* I have found a better quality dog food for Lily for less money.

I discontinued taking daily multivitamins since there is controversy regarding benefit if you have a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables. And, normal blood chemistry, which I do regarding multivitamin ingredients.

* Working diligently (very time consuming) to locate lowest co-pay for what are very expensive medications even though they are generic. Your doctor has to be willing to work with you because there are so many different pharmacy plans. And, so many medications with similar content for the same condition but wide range of prices. Many times it is trial and error. But, remember you usually have to buy at least one month supply. My nursing background certainly is helpful with this activity.

Because my monthly available income is reduced it is necessary for me to take these actions for my day to day existence. Most definitely necessary since the price of most everything is continually increasing. If there is vacation money, that will be a bonus. After all I will only have one 75th Birthday!  

I managed to pay my Property Taxes and my Federal and California taxes have been filed. All my bills are paid and it is such a good feeling. I am really making progress in getting organized! It really makes me nervous when I am not on top of it. It is not in my character.

Be Good To Yourself. OK.       Maybe, make some homemade soup!

Mary

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Someone Learned How To Stand

And, he is not about to take a nap. Generally, he "never cries or fusses" unless he is teething or sick. The word never is stretching it a bit. But, he really is a happy baby. Learning to pull yourself up to stand is no time to take a nap. This is the first time he succeeded in standing in this manner.

Nine month old accomplishment! ! !  What a little sweetheart! ! !


Do you see one of the family dogs "Cleveland" in the bottom of the picture?

*********************************************


Just received this today from the Mama with title saying "Busted". It looks like cheerios are on the rug. I did not see the cheerios at first glance!


Thanks for visiting.

Mary

p.s. The top picture is for you, Anita. (^-^)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

It Is Not To Early To Start To Plan A Celebration Trip

Later in this year I will be having what could be my last milestone Birthday. No, I am not a fatalist. You know how life is. It can change in the blink of an eyelash. I have experienced that many times in my life. I guess most people have by this age. I am a realist.

You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live now.
-- Joan Baez
So, anyway, I had such as wonderful Celebration Trip to Carmel, California that I took myself on for my 70th birthday and I am planning on repeating the same road trip activity for my 75th birthday in September.


If you would like to read about my 70th birthday celebration on the Montery Peninsula, I blogged with photos at this link Traveling Day One and the following blog pages.

This is a photo that I always remember and love. Nothing fancy in photography, just an auto shoot pic. There is just something about it that is symbolic for me of the Peninsula. Perhaps it is the peacefulness that I was experiencing at the moment, fog, mist and all. However, as we know, that area is a mecca of fabulous photo ops.


So, that is what I am thinking about today. It excites me to think about a little road trip with Lily by my side to such a beautiful area. The most challenging aspect in my planning is the financial. Where there is a will, there is a way! My heating propane tank in empty so I pulled out the little space heater when I am sitting in one place, usually during the evening. And, I have been monitoring and adjusting the forced air heating thermostat.  There are many things I am accustomed to doing to "pinch the penny". It is surprising how much difference a few changes in habits can make. I am sure I will discover some new ways as I go along. I am already working with reducing some of my medical expenses! Most of my life I have been diligent in expense cutting.

As time goes by, I will share more about my plans.

  

Actually, I am quite fond of driving. I am hoping to stay at the same "pet friendly" B & B. After all, Lily's picture is on the wall in the reception area with hundreds (if not more) of other dogs who have visited. 


Lily says she is READY TO GO any time I am ready!

Hope you have a Happy Day.

Mary


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

I Can't Help Myself

Two posts in one day.

They had a fun snow day!


I hope your day is a Fun Day.

Mary

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You

As long as I can remember I have consciously tried to live (but not always successfully) by "The Golden Rule". That must come from my parochial school training. If I left with no other Pearls of Wisdom I am extremely grateful for that one thing.

Some people think that their way is the only way, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says.  As human beings we are generally given the ability to discuss, reason, empathize, problem solve, be kind-hearted, compromise and respect for one another, just to mention a few of our given talents.

I fully understand that the workplace environment follows different rules. That's just the way it is. However, there are some exceptional people that are gifted in very special ways in the workplace.

I do not think I have ever met a stubborn, self centered angry person who is happy. Usually, they think they are happy. But, in reality they don't have a clue what real happiness is. Thinking you are powerful is nothing more than weakness.

Complete authentication is hard work but it is worth every second that we spend in working toward understanding and achieving that level of consciousness. Just a bit of - "for whatever it is worth" or "food for thought".

Do we like to be treated with love and respect? Then we should give that gift to others with no expectations.

The Universe will take care of the rest.

Peace.

Mary


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Some Additional Special Photos

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Mother's Day 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Happy Family (2014)

Happy Family (2014)
Grandma Pride

Valentine's Day 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

High School (1957) Friends Of Mine On The Left Live In New York and We Met In Canada In 2013

High School (1957) Friends Of Mine On The Left Live In New York and We Met In Canada In 2013

Bud Mietz

Bud Mietz
1928 - 2014