Monday, December 5, 2011

It's been too long...

Has it really been this long since my last blog post? August? Really?

Social networking definitely is different for me these days. Facebook is where I spend most of my time as I can be in contact with so many friends and family both near and far. Response time can be almost instant and I can peruse pictures and updates from everyone and I do enjoy that!

However, I certainly miss blogging. I miss the good ole days before FB... when I was connected with several ladies via blogland. Visiting their blogs, reading up on their lives, seeing photos, sharing recipes and memes. Cozied up on a winter afternoon, coffee cup at my side, reading updates from friends whom I had never met this side of the computer screen. If there were more time in the day I could do it all! Right? Tweet, Facebook, Blog, work, cook, workout, relax... *sigh* So I must decide where to spend my time.

I miss writing down my thoughts. I really miss reading the blogs I hold so dear. Oh to have the time to visit them all!

I really need to make a point of coming here more often... perhaps as the winter months bring a slower work schedule I can. Perhaps once a week? That would take too much time!

I hope to be able to share my thoughts here more often... to post weekly. I should try!

I miss you all in blogland! I hope to find the time soon to catch up with all of your blogs! Until then - much love, enjoy and savor the season of Advent!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunshine Pickles...

I am sure many of you have heard of "Sun Tea" - remember buying those jugs, filling them up w/ water, adding tea bags and putting the jug out and letting that tea steep in the sun! Well... my good friend Tonja gave me a recipe she received from an old farmer's wife for "Sunshine Pickles"
Start with a 1 gallon glass jar ( just like sun tea )

2 Cups White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Pickling Salt
1/2 tsp Alum Powder (in the spice section at the grocery)
2 Cups of Water

Stir until the salt dissolves

Cut the pickling cucumbers into spears and pack them into the jar. Add 4
sprigs of fresh dill and 6 garlic buds (in between the cucumbers if possible)

Fill the remainder of the jar with water, put the lid on tight and shake.

Set jars outdoors in the sun for three days, giving the jar a vigorous shake each

Refrigerate after the third day.

I must tell you... these pickles are tasty! I think you could add a slice of a banana pepper to give them a bit of heat.

I didn't make up my pickles in a gallon jug. I used quart canning jars. I filled each jar half way w/ the pickling mixture, place a few sprigs of dill in each jar along w/ a couple of garlic cloves. I topped the jar off with more water and placed the jars on the patio railing. I have done another batch since these photos were taken and I will be putting another batch out tomorrow! Simple and tasty! Perfect to take along on a picnic, to a cookout or serve w/ supper! Hope you try and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unofficial Start to Summer?

Memorial Day Weekend seems to be the Official Kick-off to Summer... even though summer begins in June. So does that make Memorial Weekend the Unofficial Kick-off to summer? Hmmmm...

In Indianapolis the month of May is obviously an exciting time as the Indy 500 is on the Sunday of Memorial Weekend. (unless it's rained out & then it's on Memorial Day) :) Cookouts, pool parties, yard work... summer activities are in full swing. I have to say after a very cold, snowy, icy winter and a very rainy, wet, temps all over the board spring, I'm ready for some good ole summertime fun.

As I reflect back on the last few days I have to say it was one of the most wonderful Memorial Weekends. Our cycling team's annual Memorial Weekend ride brought out 40 of our cycling pals to ride. Yard work, grad open houses, a cookout to celebrate one of my good friend's birthday, more yard work, garden work & then a cookout/pool party with some of our dearest friends yesterday afternoon/evening. As we were heading out the door to drive home last night, several of us we discussing that we hope the summer doesn't just fly by! I can't believe we will be turning the calendar to the 6th month of the year tomorrow. Mercy where has 2011 gone?

So the rough winter and wet spring took it's toll on our largest hosta bed. We lost all but our "blue hostas". The wet spring prevented us from doing much work until 2 weeks ago. I weeded, cut branches, cleared out... ugggh! I've included a photo of my work... on that particular day Jim played golf & I, well you can see what I was up to in the photo below:

Did I mention this part of summertime fun included a mild case of poison ivy? Grrrrr!

After weeding and dividing hostas from other beds & hosta beds at Jim's sister's home... things began to look a bit better as you can see in the pic below. This hosta garden has been a big part of our landscape for over 18 years, so we were sad when we lost so many plants. Especially one of Jim's favs...

I wish I had a better camera so I could get the entire bed in the shot. This bed runs just about the entire length of our drive.

Memorial Weekend always brings the worst of my allergy suffering. The Cottonwoods are blooming - some areas the white fuzzies almost look like snow floating through the air. And the pollen from our two pecan trees wreck havoc on my allergies. My allergy meds don't seem to help much, and my neti pot goes into full use! Because they were bad over the weekend, I am electing to stay off the bike tonight and workout at the Y. Wahhhh! Can you hear me crying? I will hit the road tomorrow!

We did get a lot of our veggie garden put in yesterday. FINALLY! We had it all worked up and then the rains came, AGAIN! Too much rain. This is the absolute latest we've ever put the garden in! We missed all the spring/cool weather veggies. We will have to plant in the fall. Tomatoes, potatoes, brussels sprouts & onions are in. I am going to plant Swiss Chard in one of our flower beds. Should be interesting.

So what are your plans for this summer? Travelling? Staying home? One of our local Television stations puts together links to what they call "One Tank Getaways". Since gas is so high, I know a lot of folks aren't taking big vacations this is a neat idea if you want to get away, but don't want to spend a lot of cash!

We have been blessed with a good spring in our business life. It looks to be a good summer for us as well. God provides... I know we have a long way to go before our economy & the housing market rebounds... but yes... God provides! God is still on His throne and He is in the midst of this comforting, guiding and yes... providing.

I do hope I can be more consistent with my blogging. I remember when I first started and was a part of such a wonderful community of blogland sisters! I certainly miss all of you! Perhaps I need to start a summer meme?

Enjoy your day! Much Love!

Friday, May 6, 2011


It's been quite some time since my last post! (about 3 months too long) "Busy"ness and Business has gotten in the way. I happy to say that business improved and I will take that during this tough economic time we navigate daily. Real Estate has it's fair share of ups and downs... but these ebbing and flowing tides are just too much at times!

Spring has sprung, so it was definitely time to change that blog header of mine... the snow, greenery and candlelit wreath were lovely, but Winter thankfully is OVER! At least by the calendar hanging on the wall in my kitchen! We had an incredibly RAINY April! If April showers bring May flowers I'm thinking we should have spring blooms the size of sunflowers! Alas... spring has not only brought all this rain, but some colder temps too. We actually had a Frost Warning the other night! REALLY??? Our veggie garden remains untiled. Well Jim did attempt to till yesterday afternoon as we had a day full of sunshine (finally). He was able to till up a few areas, however the rest of the garden was still too muddy. :( Looks like radishes and other cold weather veggies will have to wait until fall. I'm just hoping I can get my tomato plants etc. soon!

We brought the patio furniture out the week before Easter & I'm sad to say we have only been able to enjoy relaxing on the deck once. I know more warm, sunny days lie ahead... but it was a long, cold, snowy, icy winter and now it's been a wet, rainy spring! I'm ready to read a good book while the sun warms my cheeks!

We have been out on our bikes getting some miles in... not as often as we'd like (due to the weather of course)but we know many good, long rides are ahead of us!

We finished up the back hall off of the kitchen. We carried the bead board ceiling into that area which really brightened the hall nicely. It was a dark, wood ceiling before the remodel. It's amazing how fresh paint and a new white ceiling can brighten up a small space!

I purchased this vinyl wall treatment through an Etsy Shop... so many times Jim and I will be relaxing in our favorite chairs and we will say "It's Good to Be Home". I wanted to see that sentiment every time we arrive home... so the back hall wall was a perfect place for this saying!

I purchased a new mirror to hang over the antique table that belonged to my Grandmother. The orchid was a gift from some of our cycling friends. I love how elegant an orchid is!!! After we completed the project I would just stand in the back hall enjoying the brightness!!!! It's so crisp and clean... I love it! AND it's prompted more painting projects. (Much to Jim's chagrin). The family room is next, then the main bath, then the living/dining and hall areas. They are in much need of fresh paint as I don't believe we've painted in over 10 years! It's time to freshen things up. We more than likely will paint the living/dining and hall closer to fall!!!

We once again hosted our family Easter Luncheon. This year we had 27 people for lunch. Our biggest event yet and I have to say I was exhausted! It was a lot of work transforming the house, preparing the food etc. Everyone loved it and I was happy they all enjoyed! I'm still putting things away! I guess I am not so worried about things not being back in order immediately in my older age! (not that I'm old) ;)

Here are a few pictures from Easter...

Our lovely tables... I had 4 set up!

A portion of the Drink Buffet... and of course the mountain of dishes

The Menu Card & a beautiful sentiment - given to me by my sister-in-law Ann!

I really, really, really hope to be more active in blogland... I have truly missed so many of the wonderful ladies that I have connected with over the years. PLUS, I LOVE the new header I created. It makes me smile!

Much Love to all of you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

There is light at the end of the Frozen Tundra Tunnel! Temps will be creeping up from well below zero yesterday to the 50's by this time next week! Hooray! I am sure Old Man Winter isn't done with us yet... but Spring is near! With temps that warm I am hopeful to open a few windows (even if only for a short time) and let some fresh air into the house!

I am in the beginning stages of planning my veggie garden for 2011! We are going to add a couple of raised beds this year as well as build a nice organized compost area. I found a great article in the November 2010 issue of Better Homes & Gardens about composting. I loved the photo of the compost bin made from shipping pallets! We have access to as many pallets as we would like, so I have plans for how and where the compost area will be! (Jim's thrilled) I will post pics later this spring when we have it all put together.

I will use the raised beds for onions, carrots, parsnips,shallots etc! Potatoes, Brussels sprouts, peppers, tomatoes, turnips, beets are already in the plans for the main garden area. I am going to tidy up and organize my herb garden this year. And I have also found articles about incorporating Swiss Chard etc in the flower gardens, so I plan to do that as well! Can you tell it's been a long, long, cold winter? *grin*

I plan on doing a lot of canning, preserving and freezing this year as well. Nothing better than preserving fresh veggies and fruits! My pantry will hopefully be overflowing with summer's bounty!

Next weekend I am attending a container gardening seminar at our local feed and seed store that is just around the corner from our home! I can't wait! Should be a lot of fun!

I am dreaming of spring and all the promises that come with the season. Easter will soon be here and

we will celebrate as a family Christ's glorious resurrection! I long to see buds on the trees ready to burst forth in color. I can visual the garden full of bounty that the Lord will provide. I can imagine lovely evenings enjoying food with good friends on the back patio. I can imagine early mornings with my coffee and the paper or quiet time out there as well.

I am sure you are all looking forward to spring as well! Do you have any special plans? Are you veggie gardening this year? I'd love to hear what your plans are!

Until then... I can look out my window and dream...

Deck from my window... today

Last Summer

Onions in June 2010

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Swap!

As the "Monster Storm" blew through Indianapolis I was happy to be tucked in my cozy home cooking! I had snipped this recipe out of the Indianapolis Star about, ummmm... 2 years ago! I found it after I had to reorganize my recipe box (I dropped it last year and all the recipes dumped on the floor - only to be mixed up and very unorganized - why it took a year to put back in order is another story) I have to say I was very, very pleased with the recipe! I did modify a bit - I only used one can of beans rather than 2 (as the recipe only serves 6) I didn't have any fresh parsley or a jalapeno in the house and the weather made it impossible to run to the market. So I used dried Parsley (just don't use as much as the fresh) I had jarred sliced jalapenos - so I pulled out several slices, rinsed them and chopped. I didn't put the garlic or jalapenos in until the onions began to sweat. I also used - gasp - jarred, minced garlic rather than my garden garlic. I served with a dollop of sour cream and Sea Salt Tortilla Chips rather than crackers! The recipe is a WINNER! And I will make again and again! For a larger crowd I suggest doubling the recipe! So without further adieu... here is my contribution to "Quit Eating Out ~ Saturday Swap!"

White Chili with Chicken

1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 cans (151/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 to 11/4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1. In a large saucepan, cook the onion, jalapeno if desired and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, beans, parsley, lime juice and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into chili. Add chicken. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.
Serves 6

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SSMT Verse #3

Could January really be over? Indeed January is in the books... and February, well February has come in like a lion here in Indy. One wave of this ice storm has moved through. The next wave, which will be more dangerous is on it's way. I know so many of you dislike snow... believe me you would rather have snow than this ice. I am praying our power stays on and our trees remain in tact. After the first round the landscape is encased in ice, so branches sagging dangerously... I am hopeful our trees don't suffer and damage.

So on to Memory verse #3! So far, so good! I repeat my verses many, many times during the day! I know get to add this verse from Philippians:

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:19

How is everyone doing with their memory verses? I have to tell you... I feel the prayers of Siestaville! I have yet to make it through a year of memory work... this year I will! Thank you for your encouragement! I am excited about this and am hoping that after I make it through 2011 that I can coordinate a Memory Verse Team at our Church for 2012!

I am praying for you girls who are dedicating 2011 to memorizing scripture!
Much Love,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sometimes one reads something that they just have to share. An old high school classmate of mine shared this on Facebook. I just had to share it as well. I did a quick search as I wanted to find the source of her post so I could make reference to it on my blog! From Girlfriends in God on

You're Just Like Your Father ~ Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (NIV).

Friend To Friend

The story is told of a group of women who met each week to study the Bible, hoping to learn more about the nature and character of God and how He works in our life. The women were puzzled and even a little troubled by the description of God they found in Malachi 3:3, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One of the women offered to do a little research on the subject and report back to the group at their next meeting. The woman found a local silversmith and made an appointment to observe him at work, explaining that she was particularly interested in the process of refining silver. She watched as the craftsman carefully selected a piece of silver for his demonstration. She thought the piece of silver was already beautiful but evidently the silversmith saw something that she could not see. As he held the silver over the furnace, the craftsman explained that in refining silver, the silver had to be placed in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so all of the impurities would be burned away.

The woman was silent for a moment as her thoughts drifted to the fiery trials she was facing in her own life. Honestly, she did not get it. Why would a loving God allow His children to suffer when He could so easily deliver them? In fact, why does God even allow bad things to happen to people who are seeking Him and really trying to live for Him?

The woman asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. "Oh, yes!" he replied. "I cannot take my eyes off the silver. If it is left in the furnace even a moment too long, it will be destroyed." The woman suddenly understood the beauty and comfort of Malachi 3:3, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

Yes, there are times when it seems as if we will be swallowed whole by the fires of Hell itself. The pain seems too hard to bear. The fear is paralyzing. The doubt is overwhelming and questions flood our heart and mind.

Is God really who He says He is?

Will He really do what He says He will do?

Will He really keep His promises?

Our trials are not random persecutions. Heaven is not in a panic and where we are and what we are going through is no surprise to God. We may be knocked down and kicked around by life, but if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not be destroyed.

Our lives are filled with excess baggage and waste - a cherished sin we refuse to relinquish or an addiction to which we are enslaved. What about the emotional garbage that weighs us down or our unforgiving spirit that holds us prisoner? Fiery trials come to burn away the guilt of sin and then purify our heart. From those ashes of freedom, the Father then creates a work of beauty.

I believe the words I just wrote. I know and accept the truth that trials and hard times make me stronger and strengthen my faith, but there are times when I want it all to stop. I find myself asking, "How much is enough, Lord? How many trials do I have to endure? When will the pain and trouble end?"

"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" the woman asked. The silversmith smiled and answered, "Oh, that's easy. The refining process is complete when I can see my image reflected in the silver."

God is not committed to our comfort. He is committed to our character. Only God can exchange the ashes of our sin for the beauty of His forgiveness and grace. God alone can replace our despair with His peace that passes all understanding. Hope can only be found in Him. Our purpose in life is to know and become more like Jesus ... and act just like our Father.

Let's Pray

Father, I want to be more like You. Give me the strength to withstand the trials in my life. Help me love the people who are hard to love and forgive the people who have hurt and even abused me. Burn away the sin in my life and empower me to live for You. Create a clean heart in me, Lord, and teach me how to live for You.

In Jesus' name,



I pray my dear friends that you are as touched by this as I was... I truly needed this one today. I know many of you are walking in the "fire" right now... God is with you! Refining you! Making you shine! Making you pure!

Much Love,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 2!

The 15th snuck up very quickly! How many times do I utter in a week "where does the time go?" So here I am... ready to begin verse 2. And then... PANIC! I had picked my 2nd verse during a noon time devotion last week! I wrote the verse down on a sticky not and placed it on the calendar. My calendar at the office.... did I tell you that when it came time to post my verse at LPM and write the verse in my spiral that I was home??? The sticky note was at the office. I was a bit upset as the verse was perfect, and of course I didn't recall the specific verse because I hadn't memorized the verse. All I remembered was that it was from Isaiah. Isaiah! Trying to find that verse would almost be like searching for the needle in the proverbial haystack. So I prayed... I read other verses... and I thought about what I need to have the Lord say to me at this time, place and moment! So here it is... Verse 2!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
~ Joshua 1:9 NIV

January/February are always tough months for me. Not only is our business down, but Satan tries his schemes to raise that anxiety level about money, being self-employed etc. I worry... I worry too much. I am afraid... frankly there are days that I feel terrified! This verse will remind me that the Lord never leaves my side. Oh forgive me Lord when I rely on my own strength to get through these tough times!!!
I am praying for all my Siestas who are journeying through scripture memory this year. God willing I will be able to join the Siestas next January!

Be strong and courageous dear ones... HE is with you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Musings....

It's hard to believe we are almost through the 2nd week of January! Winter settled in weeks ago in our area! For the first time in quite some time we had a White Christmas. Not just a White Christmas, but snow throughout December! It really added to the season! New Year's Day rolled around and temps actually hit the 60 degree mark! It seems that only in Indiana do the temps go from the teens to 60 in a matter of days! We were fortunate enough to get out on the road for an urban MTB ride!

Look Ma! No Hands!

After Epiphany I began to Undeck the Halls from their Boughs of Holly.  I am always ready to tuck away the ornaments until the next season rolls around, even if a bit sad.  Each ornament tells a story... each year I seem to add an ornament or two to my collection.  This year my dear friend Paula gave me two ornaments!

I placed them on the tree in our small guest room - she gave me the treble clef  because she noticed  I always have music playing... the acorn, because we hand feed the squirrels.  They were perfect and I love that she thoughtfully picked them out for us!!!

It wasn't long after the new ornaments we placed on the tree that they were removed and carefully put away!  The house is back to "normal"! 

One of the many Christmas decoaration boxes we have!

We had more snow move through and the ground and landscape is white again!  We might as well have snow in my opinion - we can't control the season so we might as well enjoy what comes with it!  I went out today and took a few pictures! 

Little Visitors

Jim needs to fill up the feeders!

I removed the red bow, but kept up the wreath - lovely winter greenery

The Wren House Jim made for our neighbors

Long afternoon shadows
We have settled in for winter!  I have a lot of plans that will play out in the living room!  I dumped my recipe box (by accident) last summer and I need to reorganize.  I have too many recipes that need a home in a binder or written out on recipe cards tucked into a drawer in the kitchen sideboard.  I have a lot of pages torn from magazines for holiday ideas/ decorating ideas etc that I plan to put in binders... yes... I PLAN on doing this in the comfort of my living room, on the sofa in front of a blazing fire!  I really, really, really want to get this done!  I have a few months to complete the project... surely I won't procrastinate?!?   (roll eyes here)  I am also going to start planning my veggie garden!  I do have to admit - I'm getting antsy to get my hands dirty!!!

I am enjoying the blessing of the Siesta Scripture Memory verse (mine for Jan 1-14 is John 8:12)  I should have started a tally on how many times I have repeated and prayed this verse in the last few weeks.  Truly, it's been a blessing! 

We are going to start redoing the back hall off the kitchen (the hall connects our kitchen to the living as well as allows us access to exiting the house on both sides.  I will post pics as we transform this area!  We have a lot of "house" plans for 2011!  Mostly it's a lot of painting!  It's time - the halls need fresh paint, the family room, the living room! 

Our small group Bible study starts again soon - I'm looking forward to digging into the Word again with my loving small group family!  Of course we continue to workout at the Y and to plug away in this unpredictable housing market! 

2011 is yet to be written - only the Lord knows what lies ahead... I'm trusting Him and putting it all into His hands!

What are your "winter musings"?  What have you been up to?  What plans do you have for the months ahead?  I pray I have a little more time to spend in blogland this year!  I have truly missed connecting with  some of you that I came to know via my blog and your blog!  I hope to meet some of you this year!!!

God Bless! Stay Warm and enjoy what the Lord gives us during this winter time of His seasons!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team

I am so excited to begin 2011 participating in the Siesta Scripture Memory Team!  On the 1st and 15th of each month during 2011 I will be choosing a verse of scripture to memorize.  By the end of 2011 I will have memorized 24 verses!  Your prayers would be wonderful as I attempted to do this a few years ago and failed miserably.   By April I got lazy and quit!  I am determined to make it through this time with the Lord's help and plenty of prayer!

The verse I have chosen for January 1st - 14th, 2011 is John 8:12: 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I have this scripture highlighted in my bible to read the day after Christmas - I always get a bit depressed the day after Christmas when the lights, trees, and sounds of the season seem to immediately cease!

For all my "Siestas" participating - I am praying for you as we journey together!  For those who have not heard of  the Scripture Memory Team - click the link above - read on and join in!

Happy New Year dear ones!!!