Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spinach me

I wouldn't call myself a foodie...but I do like to cook. I really like to try new things. If you like to try new dishes, you have to give this Spinach & Artichoke Dip a try. It is fabulous. I got it from my friend Maureen and it is one of my favorites. I took it to a brunch last Thursday and all the ladies loved it.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip (but it's kind of a casserole too!)
1 ten oz pkg. frozen spinach
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion (*see my favorite tip below!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 stick of butter
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped.
1 pint sour cream

Cook spinach as directed..drain. Saute onion in butter. Add spinach and saute it just a bit. Mix all ingredients together. Place in well greased casserole. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.
You can eat this stuff as a side, over pasta, as a dip with bread or even with eggs for a Sunday brunch dish. (I took it to my brunch with sliced French Bread)
*OK. My favorite time saving tip is to buy these frozen chopped onions. They are 79 cents a bag. When I have a recipe that calls for chopped onions I just pull my bag out of the freezer and add the amount for which the recipe calls. I don't have to chop onions and that saves me lots of time and energy. I should add that I basically use these frozen onions for recipes which call for cooking or soups, casseroles, baked side dishes, sauces.... I use fresh onions for salads and things that don't get cooked. Do you have any time saving tips you use in the kitchen?...if so be sure to share!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ever learning

"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever ascending, ever improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and the glory of the climb."
~Winston ChurchillThis quote makes me think of all those things that I face daily...relationships, knitting, laundry, housework, my personal faith, raising my children....there will always be something else to replace that thing that gets checked off the list. I finish the laundry, then I need to start dinner. I get the dishes put away and before I know it, it's time for breakfast. I feel like I've nailed down an area in my life that needed some tending and just as I sit down for a breather, I see another corner of my heart that needs some sweeping. I barely cast on for one project and then I see another I want to start. I'm learning (be it ever so slowly...and with multiple lessons) to enjoy the journey. To keep my eyes on the stone in front of me and not be looking too far off down the road. There is so much to be thankful for every day. Just this morning, my friend dropped her gallon juice jug in the parking lot as she was bringing beverages today to our CBS brunch. She came in carrying her sweet daughter bemoaning the fact that we wouldn't have juice as it was sprayed all over the parking lot. Oh well. Thank goodness she dropped the juice and not her daughter. I'm working on being more thankful...mostly I'm thankful for another day to try again.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

back to reality!

I'm trying to get back to reality....Last week went by in a blur...way too fast. Kristyn and the boys came and visited for the week. We all had a great time being together. There were tears when they left. (I think that's a good thing, not because I'm a meanie, but because that shows how much they'll be missed and it shows how much fun was had while they were here.) It might be a bad sign if when your houseguests leave you jump up and down and cheer. Let me assure you, there was no cheering here on Friday, just lots of long faces. If you want to see some of the photos from the week, you can click here.
Before Easter, I got a wild sewing hair....I had seen some adorable crayon/pencil rolls on Kirten's flickr and just knew they'd make the perfect Easter goodies. I touched base with her to see if there was a pattern...and there wasn't. bummer. But she gave me some good instructions for getting started. (thanks Kirsten) I started out with Maggie's and by the time I got to Spencer's I had it down. Unfortunately, Maggie's is lacking what I learned along the way. They were a lot of fun. I ended up making 7 of them....(I told you I had a wild sewing hair). Everyone got a pencil roll or crayon roll {depending on age (big kids got pencil rolls, littler ones got the crayon rolls with those twistable crayons)} and a blank drawing pad. They were all eagerly received and I've even seen them being used...which just totally makes me giddy! (thanks Dylan!)The littlest recipient, my god daughter who is 2, kept putting her crayons in the sleeves saying, "color goes to bed...nighty night." (makes you want to melt doesn't it?)While the sewing machine was warmed up, I made this gratitude wrap for Kristyn. I got the idea from Soule Mama...but ended up changing it just a bit. The hem tape I bought was too wide so I sewed it inside the edges to make a little bit different look. And instead of using the tape as a tie, I added an elastic and a button. I included some stamps, cards and a little notepad for writing down...notes.
Kristyn really liked it...turns out she had some notes to write while she was on the road and had forgotten to bring along some stationery...Perfect!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

just chickin' in

Our Easter was a wonderful one, we had family in for Easter dinner after church and enjoyed a beautiful day just being together. I love Christmas, but I really enjoy the simplicity that our Easter celebration has become. It seems to be an easier task for some reason to keep Easter in check, you know what I mean? To not let it get out of control (with stuff and preparations) like Christmas can sometimes do. On top of the greatness of Easter, our dear friends from Michigan came to spend the week with us. Kristyn and I have some girl excursions planned that include scavenging for fabric and yarn! My honey is blessing us with watching the kids (5 of them) so we can get some time together. (He's such a great guy!) It's going to be a fun week just enjoying the company of good friends. The only thing that would make it even better would be if Mark (Kristyn's husband) had been able to join us....(we miss you!) So, I'll be back after our visiting, I've got some sewing and new projects to share...but for now, I've got to 'chick' out and make breakfast for this hungry crowd. Have a great week friends! Easter Peep pattern by Country Stitches
completed 4/11/09

Thursday, April 9, 2009

GOOD friday!

Have a GOOD Friday! Because it was once the darkest day in history, it's now the best of all the Fridays in the year! If you celebrate Easter and the Resurrection, here's a fun snack to make with your kids to highlight the reason that Easter is such a special holiday.
Resurrection Rolls!

1 package refrigerated crescent rolls
Melted butter
Large marshmallows
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat Oven to 350
Give each child a triangle of a crescent roll, this represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.
Read Matthew 27:57-61 to set the scene for the making of the snack.
Next, give each child a marshmallow. This represents Jesus.(don't get too hung up on Jesus being a marshmallow...think white, spotless...) Then have them dip the marshmallow in the melted butter.
This represents the oils of embalming.(that's what they would do to prepare the body for burial back in Biblical times) After the marshmallow is covered in butter, dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar which represents the spices used to anoint the body. Finally, let them wrap up the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll (important: bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside.) This represents the wrapping of Jesus’ body after death. Place the crescent rolls on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. (The oven represents the tomb - pretend like it was three days!) Let the rolls cool slightly. The children can open their rolls (cloth) and discover that Jesus is no longer there, HE IS RISEN!!!! (The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up, but empty.) (They also taste really good!) Now read Matthew 28:5-8..for the rest of the story. This is a fun way to share the good news with friends and neighbors as well. Just like the women who left the tomb went to share the news, we too can share the reason why Good Friday is so Good. It is good news that Jesus died and rose agian. Romans 5:8 tells us “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:8 Have a Happy Easter as you celebrate our Risen Lord!

Monday, April 6, 2009

april showers bring boots of flowers!

One of my favorite things to put out in the spring is my growing collection of rain boots. These are cast off rain boots from my little guy. Each year as he has outgrown his boots, I've kept them and turned them into planters for flowers. I have a group of three. I drill holes in the soles of the boots for drainage and then plant violas or pansies in them for the spring. I just fill them with potting soil and pop in the plants. Usually, some time in the summer when it really starts to get hot, I'll change out the pansies for impatiens. This past weekend I planted boots for this year and I smiled the entire time. I'm not sure if I'll have any new boots to add to my collection...he seems to be outgrowing his desire for wellies.

Friday, April 3, 2009

leaning in

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

When I lean in to Him, and rely on His sufficiency (not my own) I'll have everything that I need in abundance. May you lean in to Him and find all that you need as well. Have a great Friday!

the photo was taken, just up the road from our house...we went rainbow chasing on stretched all the way across the sky!