Monday, September 30, 2013

DIY Pancake Mix

I'm a food snob, and generally don't use mixes of any kind. I'll admit to occasionally using a few, but on the whole I stay away from them to avoid potential additives. That being said my family loves pancakes especially when we go away to a state park each fall. My pancakes are required breakfast on Saturday morning. 

Years ago I got the More-with-Less Cookbook which has this terrific Pancake Mix recipe in it (as well as so many more great recipes). I'm sharing it with you because there's been lots of creating and cooking around here this past week, but very little photography and even fewer completed projects. I keep the mix in a canister with my other baking supplies so it's always handy when the "need" for pancakes arises.

This makes 2 lbs. and can be cut in half if that's more than you want to make.

6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T. salt
6 T. baking powder
6 T. granulated sugar
2 cups powdered milk

Mix well and store in an airtight container.

To make pancakes:

Combine 1 beaten egg (I use large ones), 1 cup water, 2 T. oil or melted butter, 1 1/2 cups pancake mix.

Fry on a hot, greased griddle until bubbles appear. Flip pancakes and cook just long enough to lightly brown the flipped side. Serves 3-4. 

(son's bf after their pancake extravaganza)

These are light and fluffy. My son holds the current record of 18 pancakes for breakfast. Of course he was a teenager at the time.

Serve with your choice of toppings. We like melted butter and warm maple syrup.

Happy Eating!

linking up with Made by You Monday


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Isaac

Yesterday morning I found out that the son of a friend killed himself sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning. He was 19 years old and a freshman in college.

I have known this family for over 15 years. My children played with this boy. He spent time in our home, and my son spent time in his. 

There were problems, sure, but problems like everyone has. Nothing insurmountable. He was a talented, smart, good looking kid with a potentially bright future ahead. And now he is gone. 

He left behind his mother and father, his two sisters, one young brother, and his 1 year old son. 

My heart is aching for all of them, and for all the people who knew Isaac well. I just don't want these people to have to hurt and feel this pain. 

We sang "Our God Is a God Who Saves" in worship this morning. He is indeed a God who saves. And what gratitude I feel for that gift right now.

So I am asking you to shower his family and friends with prayers of peace and comfort and healing.

Blessings to all of you.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, September 27, 2013

One Person

One person. One single person. That's all it takes. One person to notice -- to pay attention -- to listen -- to care -- to express interest.

I was lucky I had 3. Three people in my childhood who loved me. The real, genuine, true me. They probably never knew how important they were. They were all dead by the time I had the words to express what they had done for me. The gift they had given me.

And last night I got a chance to be on the other side of that coin. I got to help a little kid who's been having a hard time. I got to be his safe person for 15 hours or so. And I was scared. I was scared I'd do something wrong. Make things worse. Not fix things.

But here's what really happened. I did some stuff wrong, but he didn't care. I didn't make things worse. I made it better, if only for a little while. I didn't fix things, but it still helped. And I don't feel like I really did anything special or significant at all.

Here's what I did. I picked him up from school in my convertible. I fed him animal crackers. I let him pet my dogs. I took him for a walk and let him take a bath in my oversized tub. 

I fed him and talked to him and listened. I let him play outside with a flashlight after dinner. I let him sit in the swinging chair and watch Netflix (The Very Hungry Caterpillar). I read him a story and tucked him in bed. And I kissed him on the head, twice, because I could. And he slept through the night, and woke up happy.

I took him to school and he asked when he could come back. Soon, very soon I promised. He told me he liked me, and I told him I liked him too, a lot. And he said he'd miss me. And all I can think is -- I didn't do anything. How can it mean so much?

This is what I know is true -- even though I don't really get it, I was his one person last night. And I hope I can be again and again and again.

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Thursday, September 26, 2013

{TH} read

a new crochet project just for me

yarn to complete this project found with a little help from my friends

desperately awaiting the delivery of this issue

while making do with this one that came in the mail

and still trying to finish this book, which is really quite good, 
I just can't seem to make (find) the time to finish it


linking up with {TH} read

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Imperfect Thoughts

I want to write about the struggles I'm having. About marriage therapy where we are addressing long standing issues. About how I feel that I never do enough or do it the right way. About how difficult communication can be even with those you love the most.

I want to write about my son and his struggles with growing up. College and how hard it can be learning to be an adult because it's not all about freedom. It's about responsibility and hard work as well.

I want to write about my daughter and the struggles she's having right now with past choices and future plans. How hard it is for her to look at the past and get it in perspective. How difficult it is for her figure out what to do next, now that college is behind her.

And I want to write about the fact that I'm learning to live each day in it's own space. How I take life in 1 hour increments, because if I plan any farther than that it inevitably changes and that throws me off kilter. I want to write about feeling unsure one minute and positive the next that I'm doing the best I can (a phrase my husband hates). I want to trust that I'm making good, okay, acceptable, correct choice, but maybe I'm just telling myself that so I can get what I want.

I'm an introvert who always seems to have people around me. I'm a people pleaser, which means my wants, wishes, desires, beliefs usually take a backseat to everyone else's. 

I want life to be less stressful. And then I feel guilty for even thinking that, when I have a house and a car and all the food I could possibly want or need. I know I have it so good. What right have I to complain? But I just wish it weren't so hard. I want a stretch of ease. No major crises. No significant family issues. No work issues. A period of peace. 

And I look for it in small doses. A day spent with my best friend. A long walk with my husband. Casual, relaxing conversation with my daughter. A brief, upbeat phone call from my son. But I worry about worrying. Matthew tells us that we are not to worry. So now I'm failing at something different. 

And round and round it goes. The merry go round of stress and anxiety. The desperate need to please so I won't be in trouble. And, yes, I know the only one I need to please is God, but how do I know? How do I know that I'm making the right choices for the right reasons? That I'm not just rationalizing my choices to get what I want.

Those are my imperfect thoughts this morning.

linking up with imperfect prose


Owls




linking up with Wordless Wednesday & The Jenny Evolution

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 24, 2013

Outside my window . . . I see blue skies with cotton ball clouds. A heavy dew on the grass, and finches at my bird feeder.

I am thinking . . . about an article I read this morning. It really hit some very important points for me at least.

I am thankful . . . in keeping with the above mentioned article, I am thankful to be alive, living in a house, and having creature comforts like hot tea and wifi, so that I can "talk" with all of you.

In the kitchen . . . last night we had apple chicken sausages, which have become a staple around here for quick, easy, yummy dinner, and broccoli salad. I think Alan could eat his weight in this stuff.


I am wearing . . . pj pants with Japanese lanterns on them. A men's v-neck undershirt, and my FIL's denim shirt. As usual, a fashionista!

I am creating . . . a new autumn shawl for me. Using a pattern I found on Ravelry for a crocheted Danish shawl. Danish shawls are traditionally knitted, so I was very happy to find these instructions. Here's my progress so far --

I am going . . . to my bestie's house today to help reorganize her sewing room. Should be quite a task, but hopefully will look great when we are done.

I am wondering . . . why it is so difficult to help someone you love when they are struggling. That desire to fix everything is strong, and sometimes the answer is just to be there as they work through things.

I am reading . . . The House on Octavia Street by Jacqueline La Tourrette
Almost finished and it's been very good.


I am looking forward to . . . a long weekend with Alan in a couple of weeks, and yoga/mediation retreat after that.

I am hearing . . . a little traffic, the fans whirring, and the dogs doing their after breakfast routine.

Around the house . . . things are fairly straight, but I find myself in desperate need of dusting and mopping. General cleaning has fallen by the wayside of late.

I am praying . . . . for so many things and people -- 3 new babies/mamas, 2 friends with advanced breast cancer which has spread to their brains, an acquaintance facing surgery, 2 friends who recently lost their mothers. And as always my kids as they continue to grow and learn, working their way into adulthood.

One of my favorite things . . . is crocheting for myself. I admit it. I am a greedy crocheter. I usually want to keep everything I make.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . mostly the usual stuff. A couple of meetings, some exercise, helping LBB today, shopping, cooking, cleaning, crochet. 

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .

a recent goodie I sent to my son's girlfriend


for more visit The Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, September 23, 2013

Banana Pear Bread


As the queen of make it up as you go, I recently found myself with not quite enough bananas to make bread, but I had some pears that needed to be used. Hence, Banana Pear Bread. Really are bananas and pears that different? Well yes, but not in moisture content, really.

I used this recipe from Food Network with a few alterations of course.

1 cup demerara sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas

1 very ripe large pear, peeled and cored
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt


Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas and pear with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack. Spread a generous layer of butter on the top of the hot loaf and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cool completely before slicing.


Happy Eating!


linking up with Made by You Monday



Saturday, September 21, 2013

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, September 20, 2013

She

She came into the cafe all smiles and hellos. She appeared calm, relaxed, even happy. I wondered how she could be that way when I was a quivering mass of anxiety.

She ordered tea and chatted with the cashier, making her way back to our table with steady hands. She made chit chat as she sweetened her tea. Then she sat back and looked at me expectantly, but with a mild disdain in her eyes.

I told her I had remembered more. I told he had raped me.

She said nothing.

I asked if she believed me, and she calmly said, "No". I asked why. She said I was upping the ante to get what I wanted. I asked where we would go from here. How would we handle this distance in our relationship, and she said she didn't see how we could. So I told her I'd always be there for her if she changed her mind, and I left.

And that was over 10 years ago. I think of her every day, and I still wonder why. If I could have handled it better. Said it differently to elicit some compassion from her. But recently I've come to realize I couldn't control her reactions and responses. I know my motives, and that telling her was driven by the need for honesty in my life. My belief that if everything is on the table, things can be worked through.

She doesn't see life that way. More's the pity.



linking up with Five Minute Friday



Thursday, September 19, 2013

{TH} read

nearly completed wip c2c baby afghan

new beading project

2 sewing projects to pick from


crafting inspiration

 and a little historical fiction




linking up with {TH} read

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Feeding Birds



linking up with Wordless Wednesday & The Jenny Evolution

Finding Ben

Last night I experienced something I never want to go through again. I was a peripheral bystander, but it was horrible enough.

I spent a lovely, quiet evening at home with my husband. We ate dinner together. He studied. I crocheted. I listened as he recounted facts he was studying. We took a break and watched an episode of Doctor Who. We chatted some more.

I picked up my Kindle -- I don't even know why now -- and it began streaming an Amber Alert message from my weather app. I clicked on it as it was local. I sat in horror as I read the information. A little boy from Spring Hill was missing. I have friends in Spring Hill. As I read the description my heart began to race. I read the name and I couldn't process what I was reading. I think I kept saying, "Oh God no." Alan asked what was wrong and I showed him the message, hoping he would tell me I was wrong. He didn't. 

The missing boy was our dear friends 11 year old son. He'd ridden his bike from home about 2:30 yesterday afternoon and not returned home. His bike was found abandoned around 5:30 in a neighboring area. The police and FBI were called in and the Amber Alert was posted.

Everything became a blur at that point. I rushed to my computer and saw that the information was all over Facebook. His picture and information were spreading like wildfire. I joined in the "sharing" hoping that would help in some small way. My husband and I prayed. We called our son at college to tell him, not wanting him to find out via Facebook. I sent messages and prayed. I reminded myself to trust in God.

But I kept thinking of Susan, his mother and my friend. How could she stand this? I kept thinking of Ben and what might be happening to him. Survivor's guilt I guess. Or maybe just first hand knowledge of how bad it could be. 

When our daughter came in, we met her at the door with the news. My husband wanted to let her sleep without the knowledge, but I knew there was no way she wouldn't check Facebook, and I couldn't have her find out that way.

We prepared for bed. I kept thinking all I can do is pray. We watched the news. Huge search parties were out looking for him, but nothing had been found so far. I went to brush my teeth while my husband lay in bed watching the news, hoping and praying for more information.

And then I heard it. Applause coming from the TV. I ran to the bedroom. The search had been called off and the searchers informed that he had been found in the woods. He was taken by an ambulance to the hospital. But he was found. Alive.

And I cried like a baby. Like it had been my baby that was lost. I kept thinking of the parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep. And maybe I finally understood them on a deeper level. It didn't matter what had happened. It didn't matter if Ben had just wandered off thoughtlessly or if he'd been grabbed. All that mattered was he was found. I knew prayers had been answered and I praised God because I knew it was by His hand.

I know this morning that Ben is safe at home. I know that his parents love him and will guide him regardless of the circumstances. And I know that my God is amazing, and that He loves me me and will guide me whatever the circumstances.

Praise God!

linking up with Imperfect Prose



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 17, 2013

Outside my window . . . it's 65 degrees and muggy. I think we may get some rain today, as we have lots of wispy, white clouds in the sky.

I am thinking . . . about the beauty of routine. Dd has established a new morning routine that is working well for her. It's also working well for me because it's allowing me to go back to my morning routine.

I am thankful . . . for people to share with. Working through concerns, issues, and even happiness is so much easier with a cadre of helpers and friends.

In the kitchen . . . things have been a bit haphazard with ds back at school, dh taking night classes 2 nights a week, and dd working until 7 several nights each week. However there have been lovely open-face sandwiches of Laughing Cow cheese, Campari tomatoes, and fresh basil on rosemary olive oil bread. I also roasted some tomatoes and basil for this yummy pasta bowl the other night.


I am wearing . . . my gown that I made from an old sheet. It's just ridiculous how much I love this thing.

I am creating . . . a baby blanket for a friend whose baby is due any day, and restringing a rosary for another friend. I'm thinking about trying my hand at creating one of these that I saw in a recent Isabella catalog.
I am going . . . to stay home as bestie, LBB, is coming over for yoga and crafting. We might run out for more yarn at some point.

I am wondering . . . if anyone ever feels that they have got this living thing figured out? I know every time I start to feel that way, life throws me another curve ball!

I am reading . . . The House on Octavia Street by Jacqueline La Tourrette


I am looking forward to . . . today. My bestie was out of town last week, so it's been 2 weeks since our last craft/grab/yoga fest. I also am looking forward to Saturday, when our whole group will get together for a Fun Girls Day.

I am hearing . . . traffic and the church bells.

Around the house . . . yesterday proved to be a good "catch up" day. Things are looking (and feeling) better. I really need to dust, but it will probably be the end of the week before I get around to that.

I am praying . . . . for several friends awaiting the birth of babies, and several other friends dealing with cancer. Both ends of the spectrum.

One of my favorite things . . . is time alone in my house. I'm used to a fair amount of alone time, and that just happened much lately. Last night I had a lovely stretch of about 4 hours all on my own. It's good for my soul.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . a meeting tomorrow morning followed by either a swim or a walk (depends on my mood), and a trip to the grocery store. Then Thursday is Bible study in the morning and yoga in the afternoon. Friday there's another meeting followed by a walk (de-stressing), and then date night with dh. Saturday is Fun Girls' Day. Sunday is worship and a football on TV. (There is a rhythm to my weeks if I just look for it.)

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .



Monday, September 16, 2013

Prayer Beads and Rosaries

Several years ago I started making prayer beads. I usually make Anglican rosaries and prayer strands, but recently I decided to try my hand at a Catholic rosary.

I've been using this book as my guide all along, so I went to it looking for instructions. As usual it provided clear, easy to understand directions and pictures.


Here are the materials I started with -- 


and here's the finished product --


I'm very pleased with it. I do believe next time I'll use flexible jewelry wire instead of thread, as the added number of beads, and in this case, the weight of the silver beads, may prove too much for the thread. 

Blessings!

linking up with Made by You Monday


Saturday, September 14, 2013

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Mercy

1 a :  compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power; 
b :  imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder
2 a :  a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
b :  a fortunate circumstance
3 :  compassionate treatment of those in distress 

I don't see myself as having power over other people. I see myself as weak and small. The one needing mercy, and it is a blessing that God provides for me, because my actions and thoughts beg for His mercy daily.

As a recipient of His mercy I want to extend it to others, but how do I know when I'm being merciful or when I'm just being a door mat? 

One of the basic tenants of abuse recovery is self-care. Honoring me for who I am. Not being anybody's door mat anymore. How do I line all of that up with extending mercy?

And that's the problem I'm left with. How to be merciful. And I don't have an answer I'm content with so far.

Compassionate  treatment of those in distress -- that's what I want to offer.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Matt. 5:7 

linking up with 5 Minute Friday

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hummingbirds and Validation

I'm sitting looking out of my front window, watching the hummingbirds swirl around the feeder. I wonder why they fuss and run each other off when there is plenty to go around. There are four feeding stations, but only one will land at a time and if another tries to land there is a power struggle with both flying to chase the other away. Which of course means no one gets to eat.

And I'm remembering dreams from last night. Dreams that are not reality, but it's obvious where reality intersects. The struggle for acceptance and inclusion. And that constant grasping can sometimes mean no one gets their needs met. So I laugh at the hummingbirds, and try to see myself in their dance.

I've been dancing as fast as I can for most of my life -- and not in a good way. The dance to be accepted, appreciated, validated, understood. Always looking for those things in someone else's eyes. If I can just get it right, they'll validate me, right? So if they don't validate me, it's my fault. And therein lies the flaw. The lie. That validation has to come from someone other than me. Someone other than God. 

I was validated the minute Christ let himself be put on the cross. I was validated when God created me. My validation is not and has never been about anything I do or don't do, or about anything that was done to me. My validation is that I am a child of God. Grafted into his family by the gift of Christ's blood.

But . . . 

“When I used to talk about myself or my abuse, I heard a familiar accusation: ‘You just want attention’. Those words echoed from my childhood. My parents’ dismissal told me I was undeserving of attention and I should be ashamed for asking for it. As time passed, anytime I ever got attention, instead of feeling validation, I felt guilt. I was “wasting someone’s time” since I was a waste of time. Once I dealt with the origin of that belief and the shame, I could enjoy attention without the accusations.” -- Christina Enevoldsen

Oh yes, I have been there for so long. I want to reach that place Enevoldsen talks about. That place where I can enjoy attention without feeling I've done something wrong. Because we all want attention, acceptance, validation. It's who we are to want to feel loved and important. And every child deserves that. 

So for today I'm going to work on remembering the hummingbirds, and the notion that there is plenty of love and acceptance and validation to go around, so it's okay for me take hold of my portion. It's mine, and I'm not keeping anyone else from getting their portion.

linking up with imperfect prose


Houston, We Have a Problem . . .



linking up with Wordless Wednesday & The Jenny Evolution

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . September 10, 2013

Outside my window . . . it's still hot, but beginning to look a bit like autumn. My driveway is covered in tulip poplar leaves and my cherry tree is nearly bare.

I am thinking . . . about my dear bestie, CCD, as today is her birthday. Amazing that we have been friends for 36 years! How time does fly.

I am thankful . . . for some good conversations of late that are helping organize some thoughts in my head. A quote from the Harry Potter series my daughter shared with me in particular --

In the kitchen . . . Sunday night we had a frittata, and last night we black beans and rice, steamed kale, cornbread, sliced apples.


I am wearing . . . one of my favorite gowns. This one is from North Style.

I am creating . . . still working on that afghan for a baby that's due any day now. I've also got to restring a rosary that's not as tight as it needs to be.

I am going . . . nowhere today if I can help it. I love a day where I can stay home all day!

I am wondering . . . if a friend is coming for dinner tonight. And about a lot of other things as well.

I am reading . . . The House on Octavia Street by Jacqueline La Tourrette
I picked it up from the free bin at our local used book store. I started it last night, and it's very intriguing.


I am looking forward to . . . having my anxiety decline. It is always frustrating when I don't know what's driving the anxiety.

I am hearing . . . my phone notifying me of a text message. It may be one of those days, with phone calls and texts.

Around the house . . . things are looking more autumn-ish. I did some decorating last week and continuing to clean and organize this week. Dh sprayed for spiders over the weekend as we seem to have more than usual this fall. The old wives tales would say this is evidence of a bad winter to come.

I am praying . . . . for my friends whose babies are due this month. Also for several people struggling with cancer. It is so sad to watch so many people in pain and know there is so little I can do to help them.

One of my favorite things . . . is a good walk and talk. I had one with the hubs on Saturday, and another yesterday with my daughter. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone as well.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . we are getting a new mattress and box springs set delivered today. A meeting tomorrow, Precepts Bible class on Thursday, a meeting on Friday. Walk and talk on Saturday with the hubs, and worship on Sunday (and NFL football!)

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . . 
a new coloring book for play and relaxation



for more visit The Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tomato, Kale, and Basil Frittata

This was going to be last Monday's post, but alas my pictures disappeared. So I made the frittata again last night.


I started with this recipe, but of course I had to play with it a bit, and take advantage of what I had on hand.

6 large eggs, beaten well
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
garlic salt
pepper
1 cup chopped kale
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in an oven proof skillet (I use my iron skillet) until the oil shimmers. Blend eggs, 1/2 cup cheese, kale, basil, garlic salt, pepper and pour into hot skillet. Top with tomato slices and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. DO NOT STIR. Allow eggs to set until they begin to pull away from the sides of the skillet. Transfer the skillet to oven and allow to bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from skillet onto warmed plate and serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 6.


Quick and tasty, and it's easy to substitute with whatever vegetables and cheeses you have on hand. 

Happy eating!

linking up with Made by You Monday