Sunday, April 30, 2017

So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

 Faith. Hebrews 11 and 12.

After writing about the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, the writer of Hebrews exhorts us:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart."

 Have a blessed Lord's Day, friends.


Friday, April 28, 2017

What Do These Things Have in Common?

I think we have had exactly three sunny days in April. April 11, April 16 (Easter Sunday), and April 22. Other than that, we've been stuck in dreary. I know this because as I look over all the photos in my April 2017 file, almost all of them look bleak.

BUT, there are always Tommy and Smokey to brighten things up:

Watching me bring sheets in from the clothesline

And, rain or shine, there are the cheery daffodils
(and a ton of that pesky 'snow on the mountain' invasive plant!)

and a couple more photos for my sorely neglected Anglophile Friday:

Durham, England in the evening

 Durham Castle in the background

I've forgotten whether or not I've posted these two photos previously.


Linking to Eileen's Saturday's Critters

and Maggie's Mosaic Monday


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hodgpodging April Showers

 Springing Beauties, photo taken yesterday on our walk.
The ditches along Fifth Avenue are loaded with them.

' But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.'
Matthew 6:30-33

Join Joyce and the Gang

From this Side of the Pond
She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog
and join in!

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers? Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it? Besides rain, what else has filled your April? 
We've had many cloudy/rainy days in April so far, so I always at least carry my bucket (pronounced 'bouquet' of course) hat with me, just in case. I have unruly naturally curly hair which is a pain, especially when damp, so I never just 'make a run for it.' I either wear my rain jacket with a hood or wear my bucket hat.

2. What's something you could you give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment's notice and with zero preparation?

 Unfortunately, several grandkids are missing from that photo.

I could probably give a 30-minute presentation on cute grandkids or the life of General James Longstreet or training a puppy or what staple items to keep in the kitchen to always have a nutritious meal close at hand or homeschooling or theology or making bread or soapmaking, but I can promise you that no one will want to listen.

3. Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.

 I have no idea where this photo is from
But this is a typical favorite childhood meal
(minus the cornbread muffin) 
A typical dinner today.
(I should qualify that: when I'm making dinner)
Balsamic Beef
Oven-roasted veggies
Green salad
(It never looked like this when I was a kid)
and I know that it's overcooked, but Mr. C.
has a thing about beef. 
'I don't want it to moo when I cut into it!'

When I was a kid, my favorite was roast beef, mashed potatoes, and corn, all piled together on my plate with gravy over the whole thing. My mother hated that because it wasn't polite to put my food together and stir it up, then eat it like lumpy Malt-O-Meal. But it sure was good. And it explains my chubby fifth grade photo. And sixth grade. And seventh gr......

4. What's a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?
'Love Potion No. 9'   I love singing that song with my daughter, but I think I had several parts wrong before looking it up. Sure is fun to sing.

I think this is the most recent photo of my daughters and me
(and Lucy)
November of 2015
The 'Love Potion No. 9' daughter is on the left.

5. According to one travel website, the most overrated tourist attractions in America are-
Niagara Falls (NY), Hollywood Walk of Fame (California), Times Square (NYC), Epcot (FL), Seattle Space Needle (WA), and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market (Boston). How many of these have you seen in person? Did you feel like a tourist? Did you care? Tell us about a place (not on the list) you've visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.
 Marriott Longwharf, Boston
No idea where the photo is from
It's the best hotel we've ever stayed in
and in a marvelous location,
just across the street from the New England Aquarium

I've been to Niagara Falls, Epcot, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. I especially loved Boston and would like to go again sometime. I don't think I necessarily feel like a tourist, although I guess I am, but feel more like someone who's interested. And no, I don't care if anyone thinks I'm a tourist. But I don't want to be an annoying tourist. I think that Gettysburg National Military Park has become more of a tourist trap than when we were there last, but I will always love it.

6. Your signature clothing item?

Blue jeans, t-shirt, and polar fleece jacket if it's cool. Obviously, I'm not a fashion maven. Did you know that clothing was rationed in Britain during WWII?

7. What's an experience you've had you think everyone should experience at least once? Why?
 St. Paul's Cathedral
from Millennium Bridge
(yes, I've posted this before)

There is nothing like the First Sunday of Advent at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.  I try not to overuse the word 'awesome,' but the First Sunday of Advent service at St. Paul's definitely falls into that category.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm wondering if anyone else loves to hang sheets on the line to dry. It's one of the best things about springtime. I posted a short video on Instagram yesterday of the wind whipping the sheets, but I can't get it to translate to my blog. Anyway, I love the fragrance of country-fresh line-dried sheets. Nothing like it. Of course it does mean that you can't do it when the farmers have been spreading manure on the fields or when a dead deer has ripened in the ditch near your farm and the eagles and hawks can't keep up with the roadkill. Those are the days you dry sheets in the dryer.

One of my favorite features of springtime in Wisconsin

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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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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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