Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gooseberry Patch Goodness

We who love Gooseberry Patch cookbooks are a happy lot. smile It’s hard not to want or need just one more. My weakness, usually, is the front cover. I do flip through to see if there are enough recipes that cater to what we like, but by and large, it is the cover that calls to me, they’re so beautifully illustrated. Or the title. Titles can do it too. Like Come on Over or Made from Scratch. Summer in the Country or Church Suppers. I think most of us would love the whole lot.

s&s Ridiculously, the one I have my eye on next is Sweet & Simple because I think it has such a pretty pink cover. wink

Did you know that you can peek inside quite a number of Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks on Google Books? Nothing beats holding the book in your hand, and the preview is limited, but this is a lovely opportunity to check out a book before you buy it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I’ve had an epiphany.

I recently enjoyed a family reunion with my parents and all my siblings. It was the first time in years since I have gone away for the weekend without internet access. Honestly, the time went so fast and we were so busy, I hardly noticed, but it was a wonderful reprieve from news & politics, even though I love to keep my nose in both. It gave me a break and enabled me to step back. And it helped me to think a bit on how I want to approach things, how I am perceived by others, and how I perceive them, politically speaking.

I am a little overzealous concerning political matters. To know me in day-to-day life, you would probably not expect this. I am quiet, thoughtful, gentle in nature. But my sensibilities are very sensitive and easily offended by arrogance or injustice, both qualities we see a lot of these days. So I am quite easily offended by what is happening politically, and I find myself unable to keep from speaking out. My sensibilities are offended not only by this president’s policies, but also by the arrogance of his personality. Especially his penchant for lying.

Yet, I do know that my zealousness turns people off. Oddly, it doesn’t so much turn off the people who don’t agree with me, it’s the people who are complacent and consequently unaware who find my political passion tedious or tiresome. Regarding the epiphany, I realized I won’t change any minds. I’m not going to change the mind of a liberal, and if you are complacent, you will only look upon me as strident and avoid me.

It does little good for me to trumpet the failures of this administration. While it is staggering to see how much our country has changed in the last 18 months, it seems utterly useless to try to point out what is happening. Because liberals will not believe it anyway, and complacent people are too complacent to see it.

I believe it is more profitable to remind people how wonderful our country is, and why it is so wonderful. Better to educate ourselves anew with the richness of our American history, to know what the constitution says and what it means, to learn and teach our children the truth about the founders of this great nation, to remind them of the freedoms we have enjoyed these many years.

I think perhaps this is why people are complacent, why they don’t realize for themselves how dire the situation is or how quickly our freedoms are being taken away. I don’t want to think they don’t care. I have heard that the reason history repeats itself is because people forget. Perhaps more accurately, through the expunging and rewriting of history, they never knew important facts in the first place.

So, let’s learn! Let’s be wowed by how our country was founded. Let’s make sure we know our history. Let's be proud of our heritage.

Then, and only then I think, will the majority of us realize the importance of working, fighting, to safeguard our freedoms.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Very Handy Dictionary

Have you heard about WordWeb? It is a free software dictionary, thesaurus, and word finder. I love this program and have used it for a long, long time.

“WordWeb is a one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia.”

The thing I like best about it is the ability to use it, as it says,to look up words from within almost any program. There is no need to open up the WordWeb program. When I am writing, I just press the Ctrl key and right-click on whatever word I am working with. Up pops the WordWeb window. You can use it in email, while you are browsing the internet, any number of programs where you suddenly find the need to spell check, check the meaning of a word, or find a better word.

The tabs alongside the WordWeb tab are other places you can check if you are online. And the little plus sign you see in the lower white window below, when clicked, gives more and more choices the more times you click. Invaluable for writers looking for alternative words, and just handy for anyone needing a dictionary/thesaurus at their fingertips.

dict

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Bit Like Normal

That’s what life seems like lately. smile

I have had the hardest time settling down to write a blog entry. It seems either my mind is very tired or very busy. But I did want to say that we are back to being more hopeful for Molly. It took her a few days to even begin to recover from surgery. It was pretty rough on her. And then she got real nauseated which was discouraging.ill Having her gallbladder out has not fixed her, yet. She still can’t eat the things she couldn’t eat before, but I hope that begins to change over time. Yet, in the last few days her appetite has returned, and she is eating more, which is good because her weight loss was starting to scare us. So it is encouraging to see a real and definite change finally.

Molly’s 4th book, Finding Faith, is now available through Amazon or CreateSpace. She has been doing a lot of promotional work lately gearing up for summer events like Market Street Days and the county fair. Me? I’m just frustrating myself trying to get past a certain scene in my story so I can move forward. I want so much to finish this book. I need an office, somewhere I can lose myself. I try to write here in the living room where my computer is and that just doesn’t work good at all.

So many things on my mind lately: my kids, Israel, end times events, my struggle with how I feel about political figures (namely one in particular), my frustration with how apathetic many of my friends and family are toward political issues, how desperately we’ve needed rain but wishing now the sun would shine wink.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Surgery Update

Molly’s surgery went well, and we are so thankful for that. Even though I was late in posting about the actual surgery, you have been so sweet and generous to pray for her during this trial she has been going through, and we so appreciate that.

It was a long day yesterday, and Molly is still a bit uncomfortable today, and groggy and dizzy from the pain meds, but I anticipate continued progress over the next 24 hours. I was relieved the doctor had no complications to report. He said he found sludge inside of her gallbladder and believes that was the cause of her stomach problems. So we still have reason to be very hopeful that she will return to normal now. It has been a long and stressful 8 months watching her go through this so we will all be very relieved and happy for her if this is the case. smile

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Asking For Prayer

This will be just a quick note, and I know you may not see it yet today. We just learned later yesterday that Molly will be having gall bladder surgery today, 1:00pm central time.

We met with the stomach doctor yesterday to discuss the progress of some gall bladder-related medication Molly has been taking over the last month. For a week in there it seemed promising but over the last couple of weeks things have seemed to be worsening. Molly has been nauseated much of the time, and she is losing weight. Would love your prayers on her behalf. I know this is a fairly simple little surgery, but there are always things that can go awry. Not to mention the threat of nausea post-surgery. wink Prayers for the lack of that would be appreciated too. smile AND, there is no guarantee that removing her gall bladder will fix her stomach problems so we will be anxiously awaiting that outcome.

Must run. Thank you! Red heart

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Is Over and Still Confusing

l6 I have always been a LOST fan. I’ve seen every single episode. I waited with anticipation for last night’s finale, expecting they would finish and flesh out all the twists and turns and make sense of them, that when it came to the end and you had seen everything, it would finally make sense. I thought it was a great episode, but because I was more interested in the mysteries of the island, questions about what Charles Widmore was doing, what in the heck the DHARMA Initiative was even about, why it started, when it started, why there even had to be a keeper of the island, who the weird woman was who raised the strange brothers and where she came from and why she was there in the first place, etc. rather than character relationships and reunions, I was really disappointed in the wrap-up. GREAT episode, because I loved all the reunions, but for me it was a poor and unsatisfying finale.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recording Daily Details

It’s so odd how life is. Just one thing after another. The latest — we’ve been hit with the stomach flu, after escaping it all winter long. Two down, hopefully no more to go! Sadly, Jack got sick yesterday morning. It was our 23rd wedding anniversary. So we sure didn’t spend it like we had expected to, but that’s life. And, here’s my segue into my blog post theme: it’s good to record details of that life.

I’m sharing a link, a download, for a little software program. I love gadgets and this feels like a gadget to me, something that helps me to do more in a quick and easy way. Molly has kept a journal, consistently, since she was very young. I admire this and wish so much that I could hold the records of my life in my hands the way she is able to now. What a fabulous treasure she has. I start and then I stop. I start one in Microsoft Word on the computer and then, because I really would rather have it written out in my own handwriting, purpose to begin to journal, and maybe I do, for a few days and then, nothing. Again. So, I have not much to show for my life in the way of journaling even though I desperately want to.

I decided to give in and try to find a journaling software that might help me at least journal consistently, even just quick details of every day, because, in the end, I have become hopelessly computer oriented. I found the Efficient Diary software. It’s not perfect, but it’s free. If you’re aiming to print, it’s horrible. As far as I can tell after searching all the preferences, it will print in a table form with columns which is not something I’m interested in. You could print with just one column, your entry, but then you’d have to insert the date yourself and then why not just journal in Word? So, it leaves something to be desired if your desire is to journal digitally and then print to paper. But, I am liking the program more and more as I see what I CAN do with it. My favorite thing about it is the ability to group entries, kind of like categories in blogging. So, because I am slogging through the always interesting life of the peri-menopausal woman, it is beneficial to me to keep a diary about that subject. Very easy to do with grouping. You can access all diary entries or just one group. It would be easy also to keep a homemaking journal of things you want to begin doing or record progresses in areas you have implemented. When or if I come to the point I want to print out my journal, I figure I can just paste it into Word. But for now, it’s perfect for containing everything and providing me the ease with which to journal quickly.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finding Faith

I have an excuse for being incommunicado. LOL While I have not been held prisoner, I have been absolutely immersed in editing Molly’s book, Finding Faith. I finally finished yesterday after weeks of steady work. Even though her writing for this book was very good on its own, there are always missing words or absent punctuation, and then I like to give her alternate adjectives or phrases to consider and also let her know if something strikes me wrong or needs clarification, etc. It’s all very fun, especially the closer you get to finishing. She has all the proofreading to do now and the arduous task of formatting which is not very fun for her, but we also worked on the cover this past week, and the book should be released yet this month. Sooner rather than later. I am so excited about this book. I just loved it, a fabulous story and very well-written. It is also a wonderful end to the series, wrapping up with the characters which have been in all four books. I included the trailer for the story, below.FFcover



Update On the Kids

Since I wrote last about Molly’s tummy, we are hopeful. The stomach doctor is not sure, which is always kind of discouraging, but he still feels there is something going on in her gall bladder (because of the polyp in there). So, she has been taking a medication for over a week now which would dissolve the crystals he thinks are forming in there and in turn causing her trouble. She has been feeling fairly good over the last four days, so, we are hopeful that this will continue. She will check in with his office on Friday, but that is where we are at now. My hope is that the medication (which is short-term thankfully) works, because then I think there is the possibility that she would be fine for awhile, I suppose until crystals started forming again. Or maybe they never would. smile

Jack and I went with Jacob quick to an enrollment advisor this morning to be better able to chart his course for nursing. So that is one thing partially lifted off our minds. He’ll work for Jack this summer and into the fall and then take some of the required Gen Eds here in town this fall. Nursing classes aren’t offered here and he’s thinking of moving to Duluth at some point, so I think it would be nice for him to live at home for just a bit yet, while going to school. He bought a motorcycle this past weekend. I love that he’s a responsible young man, and I don’t worry that way, but motorcycles and roads, real roads, and other drivers . . . speechless It will be a test of faith for the mom.

Sam is doing better, but boy oh boy, was that a hard thing to go through. He is still fighting against the fact of the whole thing, missing Baylen and his interaction with him, and questioning why God would allow this, etc. I have never had my faith tested to the degree of losing a spouse or a child or a parent, so I can’t know how I would react, but at this point, having gone through this, I do know that for whatever reason Baylen was taken from Sam, God has reasons and I trust Him. I know that ultimately this is for Sam’s good, or for someone else’s good. The understanding of it will come, maybe, but even with all the sorrows I have experienced such sweet blessings through those who have prayed for our family, even across the miles, and have hugged us and gotten to know us better through our trials.

Thank you for thinking of us and for praying for us, and for leaving sweet notes of encouragement. Red heart

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sharing Scrapbooking Goodness . . .

before it’s too late.

Almost a year ago, I was happy to find myself privy to a So You Think You Can Design contest at one of the scrapbooking forums/stores. That is where I found Megan Turnidge. I love her fresh designs and her use of color, colors I would pick and like to use. You might have seen her store blinkie in my sidebar. She is retiring as of tomorrow morning, Monday the 25th. I should have posted this sooner. But just in case you are interested, run over there. Her products are 50-80% off and will never be available again. Run! LOL

Here are two samples that I love, Love Notes and Funky Love.

folder4-300x300folder8-300x3002

I will post again soon. smile

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I’m Still Yours

I have been trying to think of what to say. It has been a fast week full of lots of horrible moments (not the least of which was burying Baylen), lots of tears and awful sadness, but also a lot of discussion and seeing the bigger picture and being lifted up by the prayers of friends and family for which we have been so thankful. It’s crazy when you pass through a point in time where it just seems like there is just one heavy thing right after another, sometimes as was our case last week, right on top of each other. Also, I’m not sure if we are any closer to finding out what is going on with Molly. She had the test last Monday that we hoped would show something definitive. It did not. The results were normal. That might be a good thing, we’ll have to see. We are seeing the stomach doctor again tomorrow. I’m ready for some good news, or at least a plan of action, for Molly’s sake. My heart has been aching on behalf of my children.

Molly shared a song with me this morning that I wanted to share with you.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Joy and Sorrow Mixed

I wanted to post a little update about Molly, but it might be a bit before I post again. We experienced a particular joy this week, something that was a long time coming, but the sweetness of that was greatly overshadowed by a tragedy. Sam’s horse died yesterday. This was a big old strong softy of a horse that Sam loved to absolute distraction. He took care of him morning and night and spent lots of time with him, so it is very hard for us to witness Sam’s pain along with our own. Baylen died a really traumatic death and suffered a lot, so it still feels really raw yet.

Very shortly after this happened, Jack and I went with Molly to talk to the stomach doctor. He does think it is Molly’s gall bladder. She is having another test on Monday to make a better determination but probably will be having gall bladder surgery before long.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Summer Peach Bread

I’ve been on the lookout for a new recipe, something scrumptious to bake up to bring to church on Sunday morning for coffee time. I found it LOL in my Summer in the Country Gooseberry Patch cookbook. I used frozen peaches but the creator of the recipe said fresh, frozen, or canned work perfectly. And I added about a half cup or less of chopped slivered almonds. The flavorings in this bread and the glaze recipe — which I will now be adding to almost anything I make wink — are absolutely divine.

 Peach Bread

Last Hurrah of Summer Peach Bread

3 cups flour 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons almond extract
1 – 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 to 4 cups peaches, pitted,
1 teaspoon baking soda               peeled and chopped
4 eggs, beaten 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup oil  
 
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl; mix well. Add eggs and oil; stir just until moistened. Stir in extracts, peaches and nuts, if using. Spread into 2 greased 9” x 5” or four, 7” x 4” loaf pans. For regular pans, bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. For small pans, bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted near center. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pans. Pour glaze over warm loaves. Cool completely. Wrap in wax paper and then aluminum foil. Makes 2 regular or 4 small loaves.

Glaze:

1 tablespoon butter, melted 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk 2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract  

Mix all ingredients to make a thin spreadable glaze.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Small Update

Thank you all so much for your caring and for your prayers for the kids. I meant to update sooner. These days seem to go by so quickly. The phone is ringing, ringing with results and more results, negatives and positives. wink Thankfully we’ve made a little headway. It turned out that the aching joints and swelling and the rash were from strep. In all the years with the kids growing up, we never had strep so I am not well-versed in these symptoms. Bad Mom! Jacob did get strep last year, but his symptoms then were much different, like a bad flu. Well, that is neither here nor there. At least we found out, and they are being treated.

Molly still is not feeling well daily, mostly just the nausea or stomach pain. Otherwise she feels healthy, but I am sure it takes its toll. She is finding it hard to concentrate and to write, and I know that is frustrating to her. BUT. We have an appointment with a specialist next week. So I just PRAY we will finally get some answers. After six months of this she will never ever take lack of stomach problems for granted again. Trials are hard, especially ongoing or lengthy ones, but they do yield a certain benefit.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Throwing Up My Hands

and walking away. Oh, wait. You can’t when you’re a mother. Well, you can, but I won’t. It’s just a feeling that subsides after you have your moments.

Molly was tested for Lyme Disease, as I said. Her test came back negative. I gather it is very common for them to come back negative, so I feel we don’t know anything definitive on that end. In the mean time, Jacob also is suffering with extreme joint pain, a bit of swelling, and the same rash Molly had. It seemed odd that they would both exhibit symptoms of Lyme at the same time. Still? So we had Jacob tested too and still have not heard back about that. At the time of his testing, the same doctor examined Molly too. He was of the opinion that her stomach problems are being caused by her gall bladder. We had that same feeling of relief. So that’s what it is! So she went for an ultrasound this morning. They called with results about an hour after she got home, and they feel there wasn’t anything there to make them think it is her gall bladder. So, we are back at square one again. It seems easy and neat all typed up this way, but after things wear on you for a long time, you know how it is, how you feel. Especially when it is all mixed in with other things that are weighing on us at the moment.

Just to make light of this a bit, wink I am so preoccupied, I am not even watching news and have no idea what mayhem obama is causing at present. Though, I know it has something to do with nukes and making our country even more unprotected. I did read someone said he is possibly the “most dangerous president” we have ever had. I am just thankful that this part of my life is but a mere blip on the scope of my eternal life. It helps so much to view all of this through that lens.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Maybe Some Answers Finally

One of the stresses I mentioned recently has been worrying about my daughter, Molly. Ever since the end of last September she has been feeling unwell. For the most part it has been stomach pain and nausea. She can’t eat normally because of the nausea or the threat of it, so her diet has been very limited. For a girl who loves cocoa and cheese pizza and cinnamon rolls this has been very hard. silly We’ve been to the doctor a few times with extensive discussion, she has been on allergy meds and acid-reduction meds for a couple of months or more, but though she has felt some better, there is just this knowing that something is wrong. We were planning to try again with different doctors, different town, etc., but this past week she began to have extreme joint pain, every joint in her body. She walked around like a little decrepit old lady. Then, in the last couple of days her hands and feet began to swell. Okay, so that’s not normal. You just realize it’s not, so she saw a really great physician’s assistant in the walk-in last night. She suspects Molly has Lyme Disease. They took a bunch of blood tests all of which came back normal, except we are still waiting on the thyroid and the Lyme Disease test. In one way, we hope this is confirmed just to know why she has been feeling so poorly and can just get better. In the other you hope she hasn’t progressed to the point where symptoms are permanent, like arthritis. I don’t think that is the case. We’ll just be glad to get some definitive answers. Just thought I would let you all know so you could pray for her. This has been a long haul over the long winter months for her, very depressing at some points, and hard also to watch her go through it. One of the more humorous aspects: one of the symptoms of Lyme Disease is confusion and difficulty in thinking. She has had terrible writer’s block over the last while, just such a struggle, so she is hoping there has been a tangible reason for that. wink

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blogger's New Template Designer

Have you checked out Blogger’s new Template Designer? I felt like working with a new layout and started wading through all the great templates out there, but somehow, while in my current blog layout tab I happened to notice something new.

designer

I think you have to be in Blogger in Draft to see it, which you should use anyway because it lets you do more with your Blogger blog.

The Template Designer lets you play around with various changes to see how your current template would look with those changes. No permanent changes are made to your blog unless you click the Apply To Blog button up in the right hand corner.

This graphic shows what it looks like. As you can see, below the tabbed choices there is a preview of how your blog would look with the changes.

designer1

There is also a layout tab where you can choose how many columns you want and what type of layout. You can also add a footer layout and adjust the total width of your blog. It’s great! Fun to play around with even if you don't end up using it. smile

designer2

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Book Review & Author Interviews

I wish I had thought to post this sooner. crazy There was a blog give-away, a copy of Molly’s first book, The Pirate Daughter’s Promise, but the drawing is today, so that won’t help you any. fools But the blogger, Angie at My Four Monkeys, also wrote a review of Molly's book, and I thought you might like to read it. It was fun for me to read through the comments and see the interest in Molly’s books.

Molly was also interviewed for a second time by author Stephanie Boles at Regency Whispers. The most recent, interview two, and the first interview in June of 2009.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Movie Review – Star Trek

star_trek

I watched Star Trek with my boys recently. I have no trouble admitting we fast-forwarded through the risqué parts. I’ll never be comfortable watching sex-scenes with my children, adults or not. I don’t care much whether a movie has a good review, especially by critics who most likely don’t share my views about life in general, and I have no idea whether people loved or hated this movie, but I had fun. smile I’m not an avid “Trekkie,” but I did watch Star Trek quite a bit in my youth. I enjoyed watching the old characters come to life.I loved the bits of comedy, thought it was nicely fast-paced, and that it was fun to see Leonard Nimoy as Spock again. Also, I was never a fan of Bruce Greenwood years ago, quite the opposite in fact, but he sure has grown into a fine actor. I loved his character, Christopher Pike. Not being a Trekkie, I have no idea of the history, whether or not this movie took liberties with the characters’ stories, so I just had a lot of fun watching. smile

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Four Months Condensed

sadThe winter months were hard. Time seemed to go fast. Winter did not seem overlong, but there were various things happening that caused me so much stress even my stress had stress. It was very hard, very worrisome for me, and some stresses are ongoing. There have been chunks of my life where I have just lived, lived life. Life now, seems always to have something causing concern. Every morning I wake there is something weighing on my mind. Is this just the way it is when you are older?

LOLAfter months of consistent effort, I can finally say I am writing again. I’m editing a book I’ve been writing for years. I’m not finished writing yet though. Close, maybe a few chapters left.

nerdyI am editing Molly’s fourth book, due out this spring yet.

Thumbs-upJacob finished and passed his EMT classes and also took nursing assistant classes and is now a certified CNA.

annoyedI’m frustrated that I feel like I have no time for digital scrapbooking. But I seem to have to pick and choose these days, and if I’m writing then I’m not scrapbooking. My goal is to become better organized, a better manger of my time, so I can do both.

Thumbs-upI’m gathering all my photos together in one place and sorting through them. This needed to be done anyway—normal people probably would have done this in the first place—and I’m hoping it will make it easier for me to begin scrapbooking again.

illI am sick over what is happening in our country. Some days I am more optimistic than others.