Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The engine of marriage

My husband and I are celebrating our 8th anniversary today (though we've known each other for much longer).  I have the good fortune to be married to someone who still makes me smile every day.

This passage from C.S. Lewis kind of sums it up:

"If the old fairy-tale ending 'The lived happily ever after' is taken to mean 'They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,' then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable it it were.  Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years?  What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, you friendships?  But, of course, ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love.  Love in this second sense -- love as distinct from 'being in love' -- is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.  They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.  They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be 'in love' with someone else. 'Being in love' first moved them to promise fidelity:  this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.  It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run:  Being in love was the explosion that started it."

Leaving home

Ah, love that British sense of humor . . .

Monday, November 29, 2010

Expecting wonders

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed.  Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.
                                                                       -   Henry David Thoreau

The weather was beautiful Saturday so we headed for the backyard.  Between playing with Pip, Ben raked  and I emptied and put away flower pots.  While pulling up the now dead zinnias and marigolds (white, of course, for J & J's summer wedding), it occurred to me that I should save some seeds for next year.  The zinnia seeds had been a splurge (something like $5.25 for a dozen seeds), so I decided it was worth the effort to try to save some.  I cut off the largest flower heads, pulled out the dried petals, and gathered up the seeds.  Now we'll wait and see how they do next summer . . .

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dried Orange Slices

Everybody has an opinion on how a Christmas tree should look (which is as it should be).

I love the tree we've used the last few years because it is so skinny and sparse.  I decorate it the same way.  It has a few very pretty glass ornaments, some large sparkly snowflakes,  finished off with dried orange slices.  When I was growing up, and again when my daughter was young, we made new ornaments every year.  I think that's why I like to do the oranges now--that and they smell so good!

Here's how I do them (though remember--it's not rocket science--exact time, temperature, and technique  are not crucial to their success!):

Cut the oranges into approximately 1/4 inch slices.  Remove seeds (they'll look a little prettier--though I forgot this time).  Spread out on a cookie sheet.  I used parchment paper to make clean up easier.  Bake for about 4 hours at 200 - 225 degree oven.  Mine were still a little sticky, but they'll finish drying on the tree.  Hang on the tree with ornament hangers or just plain wire, and they look like little stain glass windows!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Tree

I rarely do the Black Friday sales, but much prefer to spend the day at home putting up the Christmas tree.  We've had artifical trees for many years now, and while I love the smell and look of a real tree, it really is so much easier to have a "fake" one.  There are no needles to clean up, no watering, I can control which way the branches go, and with the lights left on it from last year, it was ready to be decorated.   Good thing with all the 4-legged help I had this year . . .

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Full, a little sleepy, and feeling very thankful for everyone who sat around our table this year (or took a nap on the couch).  Life is good.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pip - Day 3

I know, I know--We've become those crazy people obsessed with their puppy, but she's SO cute!!!  I'm not even minding the lack of sleep (too much)!  So for a little while yet, here she is again. . . cause really, what else could I write about now?!!

By the way, she is officially "Pip" now.  It just suits her.

Her favorite spot
during kitchen

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Puppy!

Big excitement at our house today!  This little video says it all:

More to come . . . 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunset on the Plains

When you live in flat wide open country, you learn to see natural beauty not in mountains or waters, but in the sky--amazing sunrises, sunsets, and ever-changing views between.

I had a great day with dear daughter yesterday--an outing to the big city of Omaha and this sky as we drove home.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Long tables

I love the look of long tables for large dinners and wedding receptions, especially those held outdoors.  Aren't these lovely?

Not fancy, but still . . . it would be hard to top the family dinners we used to have on long tables outside at my grandparents' farm.

Definitely, farm to table--with lots of love to boot.

Who wants watermelon?

Friday, November 12, 2010

So long, Jack

Sadly, we said good bye to our little dog this week.

He was quite a character and gave us 14 years of devoted companionship.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Favorite Time of Day

A teacher's favorite time of day . . .

Yeah, well,

what can I say?

There's still a lot of


candy in their systems . . .

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Club

For several years now a group of really nice ladies I know has been meeting to share books.  We are all teachers and paraprofessionals--and moms--and as the years have gone by are gradually becoming retired teachers and paraprofessionals--and grandmothers.  We meet at the local country club so no one has to clean or cook.  We talk about our lives, and often, the book.   We're not judgmental (if you didn't read it) and always enjoy hearing differing opinions.  I've read so many more books than I ever would have without this group.  Thanks, ladies!

Our most recent book:  House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Our next book:  Sapphira and the Slave Girl by Willa Cather

My personal favorite this year:  The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer

Any suggestions for future books?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Trails!

Today would have been Roy Rogers' 99th birthday.

Here are some little fans from back in the day.  Their Aunt Janice took them to see Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and Trigger perform when they came to town!   

I hope they wore those fabulous sweaters!

This'll make you smile and wish that you, too, were a cowboy . . .

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Looking up

The sun was just setting and stores closing when I ran downtown this evening . . .

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

The only edible plant still doing well in our garden is the kale--and it looks great.  This is the first year we planted any, but it has definitely earned a spot in next year's garden.  The young leaves can be used in a salad and it's great in soup.  And really good for you (especially helpful for people like me who don't like a lot of cooked green things).  According to what I've read, it does well during the summer months, but is even better after a frost--bonus!

Here is one of our favorite soups--easy but hardy on a cool fall day.  Kale has a starring role.

5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 medium potatoes (peeled, sliced, quartered)
3 - 4 cups chopped kale
1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (sliced and sauteed)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

Combine the chicken broth and cream in a saucepan.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Let simmer for about an hour or so.