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Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring mantle

I did a little change up on my mantle for spring.
Of course there is my collection of blue and white pottery. The one in the center is a new addition bought in a flower shop. I just added some ferns and a stalk of contorta branch.
The white bird flower holder came from my sister.

I changed out the picture above to a pink spring feeling one. And added a little banner below.
In the tall vase I added some twigs and blossoms.

Now it feels more like spring.

This is how it looked in the fall.
last winter…
spring banner 006
a different spring…

Thursday, March 22, 2018


I’m not much for kitchen gadgets anymore. I found that I would rather chop by hand than use an electric chopper and since I don’t entertain a lot anymore I don’t need those little fancy gadgets that do specialized things. Most of the fancy things have ended up on a storage shelf in the basement. But I decided to try out an Instant pot when my sisters continually told me how great her pressure cooker was. At first I hesitated thinking about my mother’s pressure cooker and thinking it was a dangerous thing. But my curiosity overwhelmed my fear and an Instant pot came home with me from Walmart. The very first time I used it I was convinced that this is the best thing I’ve had in a long time. I think we all have cooked meat only to have it tough and inedible. But with this pot that never happens. I’ve cooked stews and soups and everything I’ve made in it turns out tasty and tender.

Last night I tried something completely different.  I found this seasoning packet at Big Lots. I am all in favor of these little envelopes. This one was beef Stew Goulash. I had a small steak which I browned up in an oiled pan with some spices. I added the steak, this envelope and some water to the pot and pushed the stew/meat button (after I carefully put on the lid of course). It takes a few minutes for the pot to get up to temperature and then it begins timing down (for 35 minutes for meat). All that was left was for me to cook the noodles. Don and I both agreed that it was delicious. The steak was melt in your mouth tender and the flavoring of the thin sauce was extraordinary. There are many recipes online and on Pinterest for using this convenient device. Have you tried it yet?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Take heart


Take heart---for better days are coming.

Sunny days with yellow song-filled mornings

And afternoons echoing distant happy shouts of children playing in the sun.

The evenings—ah—the evenings.

Cooled down from heat of day,

when silver sparks of fireflies make meadows look like nighttime skies.

The memories stir my heart.

Heat up the icy landscape outside my window.

I wrote this poem many years ago. I used to love writing poetry. This afternoon I was going through my photo albums looking for an old picture of me with my Easter bonnet and basket but I couldn’t find the album that it was in. That lead me to going through all my photo albums and taking a trip down memory lane. I had one album that I had made when I took a graduate class a long time ago. (I have my Master’s degree plus 42 credits) I had made it when I taught the gifted program in our school district. That part of my career was the most satisfying I ever experienced. I was allowed to write my own curriculum and had an almost unlimited budget for materials. It was a dream job. I had small classes of the brightest kids in the schools and total control of what I wanted to teach and how I wanted to teach it with no restrictions. I taught architecture, Medieval times, Pioneer and Space simulation games, hydroponics, art history and much more using an abundance of creativity. The children and parents loved it as well as I did. Today I came across this album that I had made and sat down to read it. Included in the album were the newsletters that I had sent out to the parents and administration chronicling our activities. As I read it brought back all the memories of the things that we had done and the fun we had learning. I was so fortunate to be able to do that for nine years. The best part of the album was the letters that the students wrote about their classes and about their teacher. I cherish each one of them and it makes me proud that I was a teacher. 

Here is another poem that I found:

Santa, are ya out there tonight?

Permed haired girls with porcelain skin wait in their $150,000 houses for dawn to prance before the fireplaces opening multitudes of gifts. “Thank you, mammy and daddy.”

   Spiked haired boys sneak out of their football printed sheets, put on their Nike sneakers, and open their Nintendos and Ataris and Apples.

Moms glow with gold, dads smile at electric screwdrivers.

Across the world a nation of children just wake up

swatting flies off their swollen bellies.

Santa, are ya out there tonight?


Easter is coming and with it are the memories of my childhood Easters. I think everyone must have that Easter picture of themselves all dressed up in Easter finery complete with hat and basket. Not a lot of photographs were taken back in day except for special occasions  Certainly not like now where phone cameras are everywhere and every action is immortalized inside a device or posted for all the world to see. 
    I was lucky to have the very best parents and they upheld the traditions of dyeing eggs and hiding baskets. It was a joy to run with my sisters all over the house to look for our Easter baskets and I remember the delight of finding them (in the most obvious places). And getting that much chocolate at once was rare. I always started with the solid chocolate bunny’s ears (didn’t we all?) My father was a pharmacist and they sold Russel Stover candy so naturally our baskets were filled with delights. We carried on the traditions with our two boys also. Do you have any special things that you did at Easter?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Fever

Mark Twain once said, “It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
Yes, it’s the first day of spring…at least on the calendar. Outside where it is in the twenties it doesn’t seem so. For those worried about more snow in the future, this Lilly Pulitzer quote may be just what you need. “Despite the forecast, live like it’s Spring.”So instead of thinking about that we keep Spring in our hearts. Go to the Dairy Queen today where they will be giving out free vanilla soft serve cones to honor the day.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Just close your eyes


Just close your eyes for a moment. Can you imagine Spring? If I listen hard enough I can hear birds chirping outside the window. Wait…the window is open and allowing a warm breeze to sashay into the house. I’m drinking ice tea sitting in a wicker chair outside. In my hands is a great mystery novel and I’m propped up on pillows. The fountain’s gurgle is in the background and soothing me almost to sleep. …………..

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Let’s talk pillows

What would a home be without a soft pillow. It not only adds a decorative accent to your room but is practical also. I trade out my pillows on the couch for the season and now I have a great bird pillow on the couch. But the pillow I want to tell you about today is that little gray pillow in the foreground. I just received it from Amazon and I can’t say enough about it. It is a little triangular pillow which is meant to hold your ipad or other device while you are sitting or even laying in bed watching an ipad program. It is wonderful and frees your hands..especially if you use it in different ways to hold your ipad and wireless keyboard as I am doing now. 
It is called an Ipevo pad pillow stand. 

But I have discovered another thing it is good for. When I am reading a novel it is great to put on my lap to hold the book up. (You know how heavy a book can get when you read for hours.). Isn’t it amazing how a little gadget that you didn’t even know existed a week ago can be so helpful?

Friday, March 16, 2018

More and more snow

Every time I look out the window I see snow coming down. It seems this winter was not so bad until March came along and now the snow seems continuous.  Add below freezing temperatures to that and it has very one saying they long for warmer weather.  With not a lot to do I watched Roman Israel, Esq. on video. Not a fan. I did go to the YMCA for a workout. I actually enjoy my time on the treadmill listening to a podcast. Decorating Tips and Tricks. It takes my mind off of the fact that I am exercising.  I can’t wait until I am able to actually walk outside on the trails.  Meanwhile it’s back to  shoveling  snow.