Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's 18 degrees outside. The snowflakes are softly falling.

It just seemed like a "hot chocolate" kind of day, even if it happened to be her first cup of hot chocolate marshmellow hearts included.

A cut off straw worked for her. A newly discovered favorite on a bitter cold last Saturday in January.
Hope you are staying warm.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dressing Up a Salad

Salads consisting of organic mixed baby greens, and the above pictured items, make up most of our week day dinners lately. Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoy a nice hearty salad as our meal. At this point you are probably thinking to yourself,"well, how nice of her to share their dinner menu with us." The reason I did, is to share a salad dressing is one of our favorites. Three separate times I was served salads with this dressing and requested the recipe, only to find out that it was the same recipe each time.

The recipe is quite simple to whip up.

Robin's Poppy Seed Dressing
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar
4 T. lemon juice
2 T. dried onion
1 t. salt
1 1/3 cups canola oil
3 t. poppy seeds

Put everything in a quart jar with a good lid, and shake very hard. Pour into a salad dressing bottle or a small glass pitcher when serving.(I did not have poppy seeds on hand so I added a teaspoon of fine herbs)
It is a delicious dressing!
My friend gave me a good idea when she served salads at a luncheon. She put the desired amount of dressing in the bottom of a big bowl, then added the salad and tossed it together, instead of pouring the dressing over the top and tossing. She said it takes less dressing to do it that way.
This can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks(if it lasts that long).

Since we eat so many salads I am always looking for good toppings. Here are a few I buy to keep in my freezer and use as needed. We think each of these used individually, up the salad a few notches. Of course, Paula knows just how to do that, doesn't she?

Sometimes we choose this topping package in the refrigerated salad section of the grocery store. The new packaged salad finishers from Sargento. They can be used to complete two to four salads in each package. There are a variety of packages, but this is the one we choose.
Sometimes we add thinly slices grilled chicken to our salads. Sometimes breaded chicken tenders, baked and thinly sliced, and sometimes chunks of grilled salmon.
Any and all of these create a wonderful, light, healthy dinner or luncheon completed quickly.

And then, if your daughter has baked some tiny cupcakes...they might just be a perfect way to finish the meal, with a cup of decaf coffee.
It's Friday...the weekend will soon be here!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Gift of a Letter

Lately I have been made aware of the demise of a written letter, and realize that it is almost becoming a lost art in today's world. I have heard comments from those living in retirement homes, college dorms, and the daily routines of living...whovisit the mailbox each day and find only junk mail, bills, and advertisements. The gift of a hand written letter is becoming extinct in our technological age. In one of the books that grace my bookshelves, is a book titled "When Words Matter Most" by Robyn Freedman Spizman. In her second chapter with the title "Words of Encouragement and Praise" is a paragraph titled "It's Never Too Late". "Think of someone-a friend, family member, or teacher-who played an important role in your life and helped you to be the person you are today. Write them a letter of encouragement and praise them. Return the kindness they once showed you; you'll be glad you did."
Roger Carswell, our good friend from England, wrote in his last newsletter an article titled "Royal Mail". He said, "Letters, postcards, notelets are a means of encouraging, informing, ministering, strengthening, sharing, sympathising, identifying. They say to the recipient, I am sufficiently bothered that I will give time to input into your life, so that you will know that I care. Like a bench provided as a memorial to someone who loved that spot with a view, so a letter can be a means of refreshment to the mind and soul."
A hand written letter that arrives in the mailbox in the midst of an ordinary day truly can make a difference. To me and to those who receive it, it shares the fact that someone cares, someone is thinking of me, and someone took the time to let me know.
The coming holiday and the time preceeding it, when stores, card companies, and television commercials push their Valentine's Day agendas, it can be quite a lonely and discouraging time for many in our worlds. Perhaps the gift of a simple, heartfelt letter could make the difference to someone in your world. It only costs a few cents, but it does cost time to actually write it, even if it is only a few lines. My goal this February, is to take time to remember certain people in my life with a Valentine letter.

The message on this beautifully done magazine photo is "May no gift be too small(like a letter, added by me) to give, nor too simple to receive, which is wrapped in thoughtfulness and tied with love."

Top picture from Romantic Homes Magazine ~ July 2001
Bottom picture from Victoria Magazine

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

They are growing up so fast, and our times together seem to go so quickly. When they run to me with their little arms widespread, it is pure joy for me. When they walk in the door and act like they haven't seen me for a long time...that is happiness. We are always looking for fun things to do, at home. Paints, crayons, and stickers on big sheets of freezer paper from the roll in the pantry works best. We tape large sheets together, covering the wood top of the table. Naturally, our oldest granddaughter finds the most enjoyment with the craft category. The youngest little girl finds it a bit boring...

...she is much happier riding "Banjo", the horse that we picked up at the consignment shop a few years ago. With batteries installed, it actually sounds like a horse running on the pavement, and has the music of an amusement park merry-go-round. Funny thing is, not one of them bothered with Banjo the first year we had her. Toy popularity does run in cycles around here. In case you might be wondering...her sleeves are folded up to prevent the painting that she was involved in, from getting on her cute top. Grandmas are concerned about things like that.

When you have new cowboy boots from Texas, a new straw hat from the farmshow visit and a plaid shirt from Walmart...riding the horse is a must. Not to mention you want to copy grandpa.

For some reason, and I think it is because they have observed me in this routine, that tooth brushing is always a request. Both little girls walk around the house, at times carrying the brushes and at times using them.
For me happiness comes from simple things like the little card she brought me last week . The one where her daddy helped her write my name and her name . Proudly she came into the kitchen carrying it for me. It sits at a prominent place on my kitchen desk. It is very busy when they are here, but it is fun. They are growing up so fast that I just want to cherish the moments together. Thank you for stopping by today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Farm girls for a day! My Sister-in-law and me. The tractor that has seen years and years of service, owned by a 80 year old gentleman living on a farm we visited a few weeks ago. Oh, if tractors could talk what stories this weathered old tractor could tell. As you can see, the farmer built his own cab, probably to protect himself from the elements of the weather while working the fields. On this farm were four silos.

Thought you might enjoy seeing what the views look like from the top of the silos, looking in different directions. Did I take these pictures? Absolutely not! But, since my brother sent them to me, I thought I would share the view with you.

I came away with a fresh appreciation for the devouted farmers of our country.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our visit with our daughter and son-in-law was wonderful! While there we celebrated the birthdays by taking a tour of the new Dallas Cowboy's Stadium on Saturday morning. First of all, let it be known that my husband and I are not Cowboy fans, and we timidly raised our hands when they asked if there were fans in the audience, from other teams. I must admit though, that this stadium tour was the most impressive tour that we have taken in our lifetime. The architecture, the design, the decor, the massiveness, and the building of this stadium was beyond what my small mind could comprehend. The total square footage is 3 million square feet. The entire Statue of Liberty and its base could fit into the stadium with the roof closed. It is also the world's largest column-free room. The American Airlines Center in Dallas could fit entirely into the new stadium at field level. It is the largest enclosed stadium(in cubic feet) in the NFL.

It has a seating capacity of 80,000 plus standing room or additional seating in the end zones, along with thicketed areas in the end zone plazas can increase total capacity to 100,000.

The flat screen television in the center of this complex is one of the largest(if not the largest), in the world. There are not words for me to describe the enormity of this screen. I think if I ever had the privilege of attending a game in this stadium, I would spend my time watching the screen instead of the field.

The expansive retractable roof is the largest of its kind in the world and measures approximately 661,000 square feet.

The gift shop was amazing! I never realized that so much was available with the Cowboy's logo on it.

This is one of the beautifully decorated concession stands and eating areas. Notice the football lights hanging from the ceiling. There are several hundred concession stands within this structure. I can't repeat the number exactly, but I know it was in the hundreds, because our tour guides has everyone guess how many it had.

Ford Motor Co. has new cars on display in the glass section...many new vehicles. If you look carefully you will see them.

Outside of the offices of the Cotton Bowl floor of the stadium, was another eating area. This one had gorgeous crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. There were at least five different designed chandeliers in this eating section. This was truly a new concept to me...crystal chandeliers in a football stadium. We were told however by the tour guides, that Jerry Jones wife did quite a bit of the decorating in the complex.

This is the Cowboy's locker room, and yes we had the privilege of spending some time in it, and were told to feel free to take pictures.

I am sure she wouldn't have guessed that she would be standing at Tony Romo's personal locker on her 25th birthday.

The largest Dr. Pepper display that I have ever seen. I liked all of the brilliantly colored glass ball lights that were hanging in the middle. The design and decor was amazing to me.

Walking on the artificial turf field left me feeling small compared to the vastness of this place.

We were told that the Salvation Army was the charity of choice, for Jerry Jones, the Cowboy's owner. Four of these huge pots occupied the four corners of the field.
I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be a great idea, if at each sporting event held here, each patron would put a 1.00 in the big red pot to be used by this wonderful charity. Just think what huge gifts would be created with every happening. Maybe Haiti could benefit from this. Just my idea.

Another look at the huge screen and the big side screens.

A former player, Eugene Lockhart was on hand after the tour for autographs.
Whether you are a football fan or not, I hope you enjoyed this abbreviated tour. It did create a special memory for the four of us. This tour is open to anyone visiting the Dallas area. It is a good idea to call ahead and reserve space.

I want to thank you for the kind birthday wishes you extended to my husband and my daughter. I look forward to visiting your blogs as soon as I find the time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy 25th birthday to our dear middle daughter! Your middle name "Joy" fits you always has. You bless us daily with your quiet, caring spirit.

What a privilege for us...spending a few days with the two of you, celebrating you.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Texas Logo.jpg

Dear Friends,

Taking a few days break and visiting my daughter and her husband...celebrating two special birthdays.

Will be back soon! I look forward to visiting your blogs.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Special Day Today

Happy Birthday to a wonderful husband, father and grandfather! We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

You add strength, stability, fun and laughter to our days.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New For This Year...Mini Desserts

On Saturday afternoon, in an antique mall where I chose to browse, I found this set in a booth with a 50 % off everything sign. I am always drawn to signs like that. I liked this small pitcher and six tiny glass cups. Now, you may be wondering at this point just what I had in mind when I made this purchase?
I am not one for New Year's resolutions. I discovered a long time ago that it just does not work for me. But, what I decide to do in this coming year, when I have people over for dinner, I am going to start serving "mini desserts". This is a new trend in the hospitality world. And, as my mother says, "she wants just a little something sweet for dessert." So many people are cutting back on sugar, and many are cutting out desserts from daily life.
I am chosing not to go to such drastic measures when serving dinner to my guests, but I am going to follow this new trend.
When I visited a restaurant in Florida, two years ago, they had mini chocolate milkshakes on the dessert menu. Some in our party chose that item and what a hit it was!
Hence, my thought process when I purchased this glass set on Saturday.

There are many chocolate milkshake recipes out there. The one I used, I have included below;
"Mini Chocolate Milkshakes"
4 1/2 cups of chocolate ice cream
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 TB sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Blend half of ice cream, half of milk, half of sugar, and vanilla in blender until smooth. Divide shake amoung 5 or 6 very small glasses. Repeat with remaining ice cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Serve immediately.
I served this mini milkshake with three mini peanut butter crackers, and a regular straw cut down to the needed size.
I find this dessert a hit with my guests. Now, if the "mini" size annoys some, I will serve them a larger size.

This is another one of my "mini dessert" choices. I used my little glass votive holders. I filled it with 1 1/2 scoops of vanilla ice cream using my tiny ice cream scoop. I drizzled some chocolate syrup, and sprinkled some Fisher Mixed Nut Topping. I served this with a small condiment spoon, and a fresh strawberry on the side.
In my mind, this is the perfect way to finish a dinner out or at home with guests.

Another idea that I learned from the restaurant world, was to serve a plate with "hot from the oven" mini chocolate chip cookies and a small glass of cold milk. This also is a hit with my guests. Not to mention the aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking beforehand.
Another "little something sweet" for after dinner.
The cookies that are shown above, are some that my husband really enjoys. They are embarassingly simple.

I take a pack of Toll House Ulitmates and cut the rectangular shaped dough into tinier pieces than the originally shown lines. I take the tiny pieces of dough and put them on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 350 degrees. When I remove the tray of cookies from the oven, I immediately break a small piece of the Ghirardelli Mint Bliss Bar and lay it on each tiny cookie. After a minute or so, I take the back of a spoon and smooth the melted chocolate over the top of each cookie. So easy and so delicious, if you enjoy the taste of chocolate mint. I serve this on a plate with a small glass of cold milk and a cut to size straw.

This idea seems to make sense to me, in a age where everyone seems to be thinking in a healthy fashion. But, if you find this to be an idea that just does not work for you, or if you happen to be one of those people who would rather eat dessert than dinner...then please forgive me for this post.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Dressed-Up Refrigerator

Four ordinary wooden clothes pins were given a coat of green paint, and eight small magnets were glued onto each end...

...four coordinating paper strips were cut from scrapbook paper and glued to the front of the painted clothes pins, then Mod Podge was painted onto each strip of paper. Drying process took place.
When I arrived at my daughter and SIL's home on Saturday evening, she surprised me with this newly created gift.

Her gift provided me a solution for me to display some photos that I had been given, without giving my refrigerator door a cluttered look. Did I mention the clothes pins coordinated beautifully with my kitchen decor? I will change photos as time goes on.

As fast as these little guys are growing, this photo will be outdated real soon. Actually, this picture is already outdated. The weeks make a real difference at this age. Must admit, I have to smile though, everytime I pass my refrigerator now.
Would you like some clothes pin magnets for your refrigerator?
My daughter informed me they were simple to create.

A friend gave me this coffee magnet some time ago. I am not sure I totally agree with it, although I always enjoy a hot cup of coffee. This magnet will be replaced as soon as my oldest grandson's school picture comes hot off of the press. I am hoping I get a nice big 5x7 of him.
Thanks daughter for sharing your creativity with me. My guess is that it provides some kind of therapy for you in the midst of your busy life with little ones, although I find that somewhat difficult to understand.


Related Posts with Thumbnails