Friday, March 30, 2012

Random Thoughts Before Spring Break

Today isn't just your typical Friday.

It's the Friday before Spring Break!

Even the dog is happy!


~ This week was full. Nicely so. Not so busy that I felt I needed a clone....


...but busy enough to keep me running.

~Speaking of running... the hood has been exceptionally beautiful this week as the trees wake up and turn green.

Some trees have even turned white...

But you have to enjoy them while you can because these beautiful trees don't stay in bloom for long. Truly, they are colorful one day and green the next!


~There has been one thing that has made me really sad on my walks/runs...

Just down the street from my house was a beautiful forest. A little creek runs through it and often in the early morning and late afternoon you can hear a parliament of owls hooting at each other.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago the tractors came, and in within 48 hours multiple acres of forest had been felled.


The people who chopped the trees down left this area filthy, and completely destroyed. It had rained during this process and tractors tore up the earth and made a big mess. Small tree's had been destroyed but not taken like all the big pieces of timber. We had hoped that perhaps a park was being built (the area is too large for a single home, but too small for a subdivision.) We hoped that something more was happening.

It's not. It is simply timber harvest. There are no plans for clean up or re-seeding. And its really a shame.

video

 ~ On a lighter note, I received this video in a text this week from my brother and nephew. I've watched it several times because the sound of my brother laughing in the background just makes me happy. He is just so tickled with himself.

~ Speaking of Folgers in my cup... I better go get some more!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Work in Progress: March


Last year I came across a blog post about cross stitch iPhone cases. Being neck deep in art projects, I went ahead and purchased the case (or three) and when they arrived I put them away for a rainy day. Actually, I had hoped they would be fun Christmas gifts.

I started out with gusto and excitement. I had done a lot of cross-stitch in high school and college so I figured these small-scale samplers would be "quick and easy."

I started this beautiful blue bird, but soon set it aside.


Many of the online tutorials had said that they used three strands of thread, but pulling the needle and thread through the plastic canvas was so difficult that it took me nearly three hours to complete just five rows.

I was so discouraged by the lack of progress (and the effort needed) I shelved it for a rainy day.

Meanwhile, the Mister gave me a beautiful book, Embroidery Companion, by one of my favorite bloggers and needle crafting mentors, Alicia Paulson of Rosie Little Things.

Last weekend we had a couple rainy days in a row and I got to thinking about that phone case. I picked up the book for inspiration and decided to try again... this time using only two strands of thread.

Much better! ( I did laugh at myself... why it took over a year to realize that I could use less thread is beyond me. Sometimes I get myself stuck in a box that only time can fix.)

It is still a bit hard on the hands. Of course, sewing (or crocheting, or folding itty bits of paper, or... you get the point) is always a bit tough on the hands when done for multiple hours. You know how it is,  I get "in the zone" and there's no stopping.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Morning Gift


The morning was dark and cold when I rolled out of bed. 

I got up. 

Dressed. 

Headed out the door. 

Unaware of the beauty yet to come.

I ran with my friend while the sun rose in the east, 

birds chirping; hands cold as ice. 

Then we were done.

My morning, 

ready for new mercies and smiling faces. 

As I dashed from her door, her son practiced on the piano. 

The simple melody... 

"...I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see."

~

Now, 

The sun brings warmth to the morning.

I'm humming the Truth, 

which stirs the embers in my heart.

My eyes are opening to the grace of this day.


"T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far,

And Grace will lead us home."

~

Amazing grace.

One little boy plays at the piano

and it reminds me of

The gift I could not earn. 

Or purchase.

A wonderful present I do not deserve.

Freely given. Freely received. 

Praise! Adoration!

Today. 

Right now.  

Forever. 


"When we've been here ten-thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun.

We've no less days to sing God's praise

Than when we first begun."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Thankful's


  • Trees, full of bloom.
  • Colorful sunrises... and a running partner who entertains my stopping every ten minutes to take pictures.

  • Little gnomes who love birds as much as me. 

  • Last minute tea parties late at night... and the sweet friend who welcomes them.
  • For snakes in the garden (even though they scare me!)
  • Avocado smoothies.

  • The husband I adore.
  • Red chairs on the front porch, and someone lovely to sit with... 

  • Taking a nap when I didn't really want to... and feeling stronger for the rest.

For all these things, I am thankful.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Red and Pink

Whew! This weekend was FUN!

I got a wild-hare on Friday to paint my kitchen and the next thing I new... my neutral kitchen...



 ...was red.

I turned on Notting Hill and went to work.

The paint is Benjamin Moore: Raspberry Truffle. It was inspired by my friend who had recently painted her bathroom this color and I LOVED it.

The funny thing is that although I enjoy color, when it comes our home I have typically kept things neutral. Mostly because we move a lot and I always want things to be easy when we move. But I hope we are here to stay!

Honestly, it was The Mister's idea to paint it red... and at first I wrinkled my nose in a skeptical way.

He was right.

We spent $38 in paint and a couple of brushes, and I feel  like I got a brand new kitchen. Smokin' deal.

I started taping at 10:00am, painting at 11:30am and was finished (clean up and all) by 6:pm. So it was quick, easy and cheap. My kind of home improvement.

The only snafu in my weekend is that the temporary crown the dentist put in my mouth on Thursday, came out on Saturday night while eating pizza. Bummer.

So I had to go back into the office this morning to have it put back in.

Luckily, I was rewarded by this sweet flower outside of the dentist's office.

I'm not sure, but I think it might be a different variety of Camellia... you know I'm a sucker for those. Nothing like a little pink to perk up your day.


Happy Monday...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thankful Things...3/16/12

~ My favorite teenage boy who makes me laugh.


~ Having a mid-week date with my favorite girl (who will never pass up a bacon -cheeseburger opportunity.)

~ New kitchen toys.

~ Heart felt conversations with women who are brave.

~ A flowery coffee cup that I have wanted for a very long time.

~ The view on my morning run.

~ Things that sparkle and shine.

~ Answered prayers.

~ The thought of painting my kitchen red.

~ My Thursday Night Girls. 

~ Gelato on a warm afternoon.

~ That this weekend is open for the choosing: craft? sew? paint? garden? read? a little of each? Perhaps.

For these things (and so much more!) I am thankful.

As always, I would love to hear what you are thankful for this week...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Ruler of All Nature"


I woke up singing.

Before my mind and body could register that my eyelids were open, my spirit was singing.

      Beautiful Savior!   
       Lord of all nations!
         Son of God and Son of Man!

Over and over those two stanzas circled, an unending spin in the mind of this broken record.

I listened.

What is that song?

So, while the moon still hung in the sky, I sipped coffee and Googled what was playing in my head.

Fairest Lord Jesus. 

Then I remembered: This was the hymn we sang at church on Sunday. The sermon (in part) was on the mercy of God, who sends rain for our good and His glory. With the falling of rain, we reap the benefits of fruit.

I'm living in the middle of that promise.

Last week we had several rain showers, and this morning the fields and flowers of our little hill are filled with color.

Tiny purple blooms that brighten the morning.

The softest little Lambs Ear is peaking up through the brown leaves.

The Camellias in their full glory.
Although the Daffodils have seen their day (this is the last one in our yard)...
...the sweet peas are on their way.

This morning even the weeds were proudly glistening in rays of newly risen sun. 
Yes, I woke up singing and it gives me strength...


... bring on the rain. I'm working in the garden, but my heart and song is set on Him.

    Fairer are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands.
     Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
   Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
    Who makes the woeful heart to sing.


    All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
     Wondrously, Jesus is found in Thee;
    None can be nearer, fairer or clearer,
      Than thou my Savior art to me.

    Beautiful Savior! Lord of all nations!
      Son of God and Son of Man!
    Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
      Now and forevermore be thine.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

From the Archives: A Lesson on Rest...given by the Baker


This post, originally written in August 2007, is from the archives. 


This morning, the kids are in need of some fresh bread, and this Tomato Herb Focaccia is what they want. It makes my heart so happy that they love certain things I love to bake. My grandmother was a baker, and I have many happy memories of her baking. I want those happy memories for my kids too.

Its funny to read this post today. My life was so different back then, and yet the need for rest is the same. I hope you find a quiet place of rest today-- be it a rest that is quiet and calm (as I chose five years ago, my young children away at school) or filled with joy and energy (as it is on this Monday morning with teenagers at home.) With love ~ Kellie


What you will need:

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (divided) (plus extra for the pan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more if you like)
  • Two small Roma tomatoes (opt.)
  • 1 cup (or less, or more) Feta Cheese (opt)
  • 2 tsp. Italian Herbs (opt)


How you will do it:

Take 1/3 cup of water and the honey, and zap it in the microwave about 15 seconds so your water is warm to the touch and the honey is dissolved. Sprinkle your yeast on the top and gently stir it up. Set it aside and let it rest. About 10 minutes, so it's creamy and frothy.

Now we make the sponge:
Take 2 cups of your flour and mix it with the salt. When your yeast has sufficiently rested you can add it to your flour and salt mix. Add about a third of the oil.

Make sure your 1 cup of remaining water is warm to the touch. Your dough will be happier if he's kept warm.

Then add a bit of the warm water to the mix, keep adding until its thick, but very wet. You will use almost all your water. If it's too thin don't worry about it, today we are resting. It will fix itself later.

Cover that baby sponge up with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes, He needs a rest. Meanwhile slice up those tomatoes. And get your pan ready for company. Spruce up the jelly roll pan with a good brush of olive oil. Turn the oven to 450 degrees F.

Make yourself a glass of iced tea. We are resting.

Next we add the remaining flour, carefully. Using the bread hook, incorporate the flour until just mixed through, but don't work the dough too much. It won't be happy. When the dough is no longer flour-y, place it on the floured cutting board.



Sprinkle some flour on top. Put some olive oil on your hands (the dough will be sticky). Gently knead it a few times. Not too much. We are resting.
Work the dough into a ball, brush with some olive oil. Cover. He's happier that way.

He needs to rest. About 10 minutes.

Get your pan near you. After the dough has rested, gently place him on the pan.







Roll the dough out. Don't be too rough.

You'll squeeze out all that happy, yeasty, restful, air.

Be easy.

It will spring back a lot on the pan, but take your time.

We are resting.







Take your tomatoes and spread them around.

Sprinkle your feta where you want it.

Add the herbs in dashes.

Drizzle the second (third) of your olive oil.

Place your dressed up dough boy in a draft free place and cover him up.

He must rest. For at least 30 minutes






Longer, if you live somewhere cold.


I place mine on top of the stove on another flipped over jelly roll pan.

That way it catches some of the warmth from the pre-heating oven, but not too much.







Now.

Here is the fun part. make little indentations with you finger tips in the top of the bread.

Then...

Then
! Happiness with the olive oil! Drizzle the remaining oil on your masterpiece.

Use extra. I dare ya.


Pop into the oven for 15- 20 minutes. Shorter if you like your bread soft and pliable. Long if you like the outside crisp and the inside chewy.







Have a taste of rest.






Without rest this recipe is just flour, water and a couple of over-ripe tomatoes. Rest is what makes it good, tasty, nourishing. Rest makes it palatable, so the baker can eat it and have energy.

Today I will rest.

I will not go to the gym. I will not run. I will not go to a friends house. Nor do heavy cleaning. I will not shop.

Why? I knew you'd ask.

Because I need it.

I have been fighting a cold since Saturday. I can't shake it. I tried to ignore it. Push through it. Pretend it wasn't there.

The only way to get better will be to simply rest.

I know rest is important. Vitally important, not just when you are sick, but in life. Sometimes, I just forget. Like my kids, I don't want to miss anything.

Today on my list are restful things: I want to do some writing, some reading, and since I have time, some bread baking; Tomato, Feta, Herb Focaccia Bread.

Oh! and yes, I am doing some laundry because there is no rest from laundry...

Matthew 6:31 - "Come with me, to a quiet place, so you can rest." - Jesus