Monday, April 24, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mr. C.

 Oliver, trying to adjust his sunglasses

Sixty-six years ago today, Mr. C. became the sixth person in his extended family to be born on April 24. That little factoid even made The New York Times at the time. 

So we celebrated Mr. C's birthday on the weekend with family here, a hayride (minus the hay), a nice walk along 5th Avenue, some food and cake, and a walk through the woods.

That little wagon would actually hold me, but I couldn't get Oliver to give it up and besides, I doubt that I could persuade his dad to pull me in the wagon.

 Conquering an obstacle on the way to that stump.
(See collage above)

These photos were taken in Chippewa County last week.  It was a terrible day to try to get any decent photos, but I liked the subject matter, so I put these photos into a collage anyway.

 Old Albertville Church
Albertville, WI

I am having no success in finding out anything about the history of that church. I'd really like to know more than the fact that it is still standing in a tiny village in Chippewa County.

 Granary on the neighbor's property
I mostly took this picture for the clouds.

 More scenes in the neighborhood, along 5th Avenue

This photo is best viewed through the wrong end of a telescope.

Happy Birthday to my way-better half.

He'll be so annoyed when he sees this. LOL



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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jesus is Lord

 Church of the Resurrection
of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Wausau, WI

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;  for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.  He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.' - Colossians 1:15-20

Have a blessed Lord's Day, friends.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Homemade Vegan Soaps - The Perfect Mother's Day Gifts


Handcrafted, vegan soaps pictured above:
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French Lilac & Lavender

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Cranberry Orange Scones Recipe

 Cranberry Orange Scones (Gluten-free)
and new Losse Clay Studio mug
(Dallas, Wisconsin)
and I love that pretty blue interior

On Wednesday I pictured my Canterbury Cathedral mug and a gluten-free cranberry orange scone. A few of you (here and on Instagram) have asked me to post the recipe, so here it is!

First, I have posted two variations on this scone theme in the past. One was the blueberry-lavender scone and the other was a pomegranate orange scone. Recipes are at the links shown.

But today it's Gluten-free Cranberry Orange  Scones Recipe:

 I see that I forgot to get the salt and half and half into the photo.

2 c. Gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mill in this one but have used Krusteaz in others and found it just as delicious. I've also used my own mix of gluten-free flours, but really, this is so much easier and since I don't make them every day, it's worth it to me to have the large bag of Gluten-free flour mix on hand, usually purchased from Sam's Club, so a better price than other places.)

1/3 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into chunks

3/4 c. half and half (or heavy whipping cream)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 c. Craisins (dried cranberries)
2 T. orange zest (I happen to like a lot of citrus)

1 heaping half cup of powdered sugar
4 t. freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cold butter in food processor until it's a fairly fine texture. You can use a pastry blender to do this, but the food processor is lots easier.

Grate the orange peel until you've got about 2 T.

My new little grater sure is a lot sharper than the old one
and thus works far better.

Toss the dried cranberries with an extra teaspoon of flour just so that they don't clump together in the recipe.

Stir dried cranberries and orange zest into the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, beat egg and half and half. Then stir that into the other ingredients, just enough to moisten evenly.

Use a large spoon to drop large clumps of the dough/batter onto a greased jellyroll pan. I got a dozen scones on my one large jellyroll pan.

Place in 375 degree oven and bake for 16 minutes.

Remove from oven when they're firm to the touch and very slightly golden in places.

Allow to cool on the pan.

When completely cool, drizzle with glaze:

Whisk 1/2 heaping cup of powdered sugar and 4 t. freshly squeezed orange juice together. Drizzle over room temperature scones.

Place scones in a refrigerator to set glaze.

When glaze is set, remove from refrigerator and serve - or freeze them for later.

 You'll notice that I snitched half a scone to taste test them.
I did it for you. :-)

Another variation on this recipe is, instead of the cranberries and orange zest, use raspberries and mini chocolate chips (less is not more) and add a few drops of almond extract. And that one, instead of glazing with orange, I'd glaze with the same amount of powdered sugar and 2 T. half and half along with 1/2 t. almond extract. So delicious!

Also, to the Cranberry Orange recipe in this post, I might add some chopped almonds another time.

Love that new mug!
The glaze is so smooth and I get to see that
pretty little bird every time I drink my coffee.



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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fly the Friendly Skies of the Hodgepodge

 Spring is here and it's wonderful.

Join Joyce and the Gang

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog
and join in!

 A moment of reflection

1. Tell us about a time you felt like you were 'flying by the seat of your pants'.

I am not a 'fly by the seat of your pants' kind of person, but the most recent time might have been in trying all sorts of things, including two factory resets of my Kindle, in order to get my Kindle to stop freezing up. And then the many 'chat' conversations with various Amazon tech people who kept telling me what I had already told them, and trying to be patient while they handed me off to one technician after the other so I could explain it all again and hear the same answers again.

Window Washers
They brighten the day

2.  When or where would you most like to be 'a fly on the wall'?

at NSA. It would be very interesting, wouldn't it! Then again, I've seen what happens to flies.

 Barn in Chippewa County

3. 'Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.'-Henry David Thoreau 

Would you agree? Why or why not?

I don't think of happiness as sitting softly anywhere, and I do think people chase it. Joy, on the other hand, is something observed, acknowledged, not chased. Happiness is getting my Kindle to finally work right. Joy is observing God's creation and knowing that Jesus is Lord of ALL.

 Photo is from 2008
but the eagles still return to that tree
and were perched there this morning.
(about 75 feet from the house)

4. Share a favorite movie, book, or song with flying in it's title, lyrics, or theme somewhere.

How about the song, 'Fly the friendly skies of United' ?  Or maybe not.

5. What is one task or chore you tend to do 'on the fly'? Is this something that really needs to be done another way?

Hmmm.  I don't do too many things 'on the fly.'  I don't do too many things. Period.

 Conjoined silos
Chippewa County

6. What was happening the last time you thought to yourself or said aloud, 'Wow, time flies when you're having fun', and you meant it.

It would have been while spending time outdoors with family, in gorgeous weather. In other words, spring, summer, or fall (or even winter) when the family is around.

A few days ago, a beautiful spring day

7. This Thursday is National Garlic Day. Will you add garlic to your menu on Thursday? Do you like garlic? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?

I love garlic and use it frequently, but don't have it written on the calendar for Thursday. Probably my favorite dish with garlic is the gluten free chicken pasta casserole which I've shown here far too many times.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

 Smokey, you cannot hide in my jade plant!

I think I get just as nervous about going to the vet as Smokey does. She had to go in for her booster shot yesterday. I hate putting her through that stress. I hate putting me through that stress of putting her through that stress. It was pouring rain, and when I got home, she ran out of the crate and disappeared somewhere. I put my snuggly robe on over my clothes because I felt chilled. 

 Ah yes. I found Smokey.
This is how she handles stress.

And this is how I handle stress.

Cranberry orange scone
and coffee
(in my Canterbury Cathedral cup!)
Just in case you think this is a dinner plate,
it's about 5" in diameter.

But still. 


I hope you have a stress-free Hodgepodge Day.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Springtime and Easter Sunday

 The Vultures Across the Road
(I mean real vultures)

There are huge turkey vultures that soar above our place from time to time. They often perch for a while on Neighbor Bill's barn (above) to scope out the landscape below. They're really great ugly birds, but fun to watch. And I'd just as soon stay on the good side of them. I've seen what happens to miscalculating deer.

On this evening's walk, we saw turkey vultures, an eagle's nest high in a pine tree, and heard the repeated dive warning of a nighthawk. I love the countryside.

 From upper left, clockwise:

Our daughter and kids finding the first spring flowers in our woods
Oliver, reading to his puppy (photo by his mom or dad)

Henry, blowing bubbles to entertain the kitties
Tommy, checking out the birds in the front yard


On Resurrection Sunday we went to church in the morning and then came home where kids grandkids, and some 'borrowed grandkids' joined us for dinner. I think the little ones will sleep well tonight. Lots of fresh air and running around the yard, hunting for Easter eggs should have worn them out.

 The weather was gorgeous for Easter Sunday
The kids taking their Gustafson's Boutique Easter Baskets
out on the hunt.

Son and grandson on the hunt
See how it's really starting to green up in Wisconsin!

Hummingbird Cake for dessert
My first ever, made from Jean's recipe,
although I made it in a 13 x 9 pan, rather than layers.
It was delicious!
(At least three people asked me how many hummingbirds it took.)


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I hope you had a wonderful Easter celebration.,


Resurrection Sunday

I Corinthians 15:17-26:

'If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have died in Christ have perished.  If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being, for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.  But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.  Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.'


'There is...a quality of 'rawness' about these [resurrection] stories, and a quality of mysteriousness: there is the strange but very persistent theme that people do not at first recognize the risen Jesus - the story of the encounter with Mary Magdalene, the story of Emmaus. That is a significant factor once again which no one has ever fully made sense of, and again doesn't fit easily into literary stereotypes. There are cases in the Old Testament when people realize belatedly that they have been talking to an angel, when the angel suddenly reveals his glory; but that's not quite how it works in the encounter with Mary Magdalene or the Emmaus story. And so, in thinking about the historical basis of the resurrection stories, about the empty tomb and the 'apparitions,' it is important to be alert to the way the story is told and to begin to see how much of a shock it actually was - and of course, still is.

'The story is told in a new way because nothing like this has ever happened before; and we are still finding it difficult because nothing like that has ever happened again. But... that is what you might expect in retrospect; what you might expect if what you're dealing with is an event that inaugurates a new phase in human history, not just another episode in the continuing story, but something that reshapes the whole way in which we talk about God, and about God's world.'    - The Sign and the Sacrifice, Rowan Williams 

Have a blessed Easter, friends!
Because He Lives!



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