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Posts from ‘March, 2013’

Obsession and a gift idea

This past Sunday in church one of our pastors mentioned that his two year old daughter has become obsessed with the Disney movie Cinderella that she received for Valentine's Day. They have watched it over and over and have it pretty well memorized. You can listen to his message, which was about the faithfulness of God, through Sermon Audio. The illustration about little Gracen is 26 minutes into the message.

Having an almost two year old in the house several days a week I have also noticed how toddlers can be obsessed with something. Ryan has recently been obsessed with a variety of things, including the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, the French children's film, The Red Balloon, and tires (which he pronounces "tie-ee". We took him to Costco a couple weeks ago and looked at the tires on our way in and then tried to just walk past them on the way out. We left with a sobbing toddler. 🙁

It amazes me that all three of our grandchildren (ages 6, almost 2, and 1) have been extremely fond of their stuffed monkey toys which they continue to sleep with. When Megan, Jim, and the children came at Christmas they were accompanied by no less than five monkeys! (One was actually purchased on the way here.)

For the past several years since I have become a grandmother I often peruse the video section of thrift stores looking for videos which might appeal to the children. They are very inexpensive now since many people no longer have a VCR. I first found a copy of Road Construction Ahead while doing such a search. Ryan loved that video and we watched it over and over. It was a sad day when we discovered that the tape was broken. Believe it or not I actually found another copy at the same store a few weeks ago. Knowing that video tapes of this vintage can be rather fragile I did a little research and discovered that the company that produced these videos now offers them in a DVD version. I ordered a copy of Road Construction Ahead 2 and it came in the mail earlier this week, just in time for Ryan's birthday. The company, Little Hard has a variety of real life action videos showing how things are done and utilizing a lot of big machinery. So, if you need a gift for a little boy you might want to check out this website. The website has clips from all the DVDs which might be entertaining for you to watch with a toddler.

Here's a picture of Ryan watching the Road Construction video and pointing out all the tires:


Thanks to all who left such kind comments following the death of our cat. We appreciate your care and concern.


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Our house is haunted

Our house is haunted. I take the can opener from the drawer and wait for someone to come near. I hear noises and expect to see a little face peering up at me. I walk into the bedroom and look to see if someone is napping on the bed. I eat my morning cereal and save just a bit of milk to share with a little friend. Yes, our house in haunted by the memories of two elderly cats which have been a part of our lives for the last eighteen years.

We knew this day would come as they aged, lost weight, became less active, stopped playing, and then showed signs of actual suffering. But still the dreaded days came too soon. We lost Adelaide in December and then Clementine just this past weekend.

So, for the first time in many, many years there are no little felines sharing our home. Will we get another cat? Perhaps, but not for a time. The cat accouterments are boxed and in the attic awaiting possible future need.

Are there animals in heaven? Randy Alcorn has an interesting perspective on this in his book Heaven. I do know that God created the animals and that He cares for them and wants us to take good care of those which he has entrusted to our care. I'm thankful for those which have given me a great deal of joy and left their paw prints on my heart.


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Something old and something new

Our weather is warm today but supposed to be a bit cooler next week. Before it gets really warm I wanted to post this old recipe for beef stew which we have enjoyed for many, many years. It is best with long, slow simmering but if you don't have a long afternoon at home you could break up the process by cooking the meat one evening and then adding the vegetables and cooking them with the beef until tender the next day. This is one of my favorites.


Hearty Beef Stew

2 lbs. stew meat or a chuck roast cut into cubes
2-3 Tbsps. cooking oil
4 cups water
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized cubes
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/4" thick
1 medium onion cut into bite sized chunks (optional)
1 cup frozen peas

In Dutch oven or large soup kettle brown meat in small batches in hot oil. Try to get it nice and brown as this helps develop the flavor. Place all meat in the kettle and then add the water, tomato sauce, chopped onion, garlic powder, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Add the potatoes, onions, and carrots and simmer 40-60 minutes until they are also tender. Taste the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like a thicker sauce you can thicken this with 1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/4 cup water. Add the frozen peas and cook a few minutes more until they are done to your liking. Remove bay leaf and serve. This is delicious served with biscuits or cornbread.

Something new in our area which I learned about recently is The Carolina Honey Bee Company which is located in Travelers Rest, SC.


It is a new little shop which carries local honey, bee keeping supplies, products made from honey and beeswax, and bee themed items. They let you sample the different types of honey which they sell. They feature recipes and other uses for honey on their Facebook page. I purchased some honey as a gift for a friend and they packaged it in a cute little gift bag.


It's a nice little shop and I hope you will check it out if you are in the area.


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A couple of new recipes

I haven't really meant to neglect this blog for such a long time but I've been a little uninspired. I didn't think my vast readership would enjoy reading about routine laundry, cleaning, mending, etc. Another factor is that all four of the books that I had on reserve at the library came in at once. So, most of my free time lately has been spent reading.

At the end of this month we will be hosting a Christian couple from Germany. They visited us a few years ago and must have enjoyed themselves because they are coming back. 🙂 We didn't know them at all before their last visit but we have kept in touch since then and are looking forward to their visit. They will stay with us for a few days and then travel around a bit and then come back for a few days before they fly out of Atlanta.

I did try a couple of new recipes this week that I thought I could share. I love to find recipes which call for ingredients which I normally keep on hand. Both of these recipes fit that description.

The first recipe called for chicken and broccoli. I had both of those ingredients in the freezer. The recipe is here if you would like to try it. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Jane's blog which is called Thy Hand Hath Provided. About the only changes I made to this recipe were to use Rice Vinegar and to add a little Sesame Oil right before serving. We enjoyed this over some brown rice and thought it was a nice change from the regular chicken and broccoli casserole that I make.


The second recipe called for spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, carrots, zucchini, and meatballs. I actually had some zucchini which I needed to use up as well as the other ingredients. We really enjoyed this soup. Here is the original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. I have enjoyed this blog and have tried other recipes she has posted. Below is how I actually made it:

Spaghetti and Meatball Soup

2 Tbsps. olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
pepper to taste
5 cups water
1 tub of Knorr Soup Stock
24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
large pinch of Italian Seasoning
1 14 oz. bag of frozen meatballs, thawed and cut into quarters
1 cup cut spaghetti (or other small pasta such as ditalini or orzo)

Heat large soup kettle. Add oil and when heated add carrots, zucchini, garlic, and onions. Saute until the vegetables wilt down. Season with pepper and then add the water, spaghetti sauce, soup base, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil and then add the meatballs and pasta. Simmer 10-15 mins. or until pasta is tender. Garnish with shredded cheese. It would also be good if you added some navy or kidney beans to the soup.

This is very, very good. 🙂

This is the pasta that I used in the soup. I had bought it thinking it would work well in chicken noodle soup.



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