Three In a Day?

Last Friday was a baking day, and most importantly a trying-new-recipes-day.

For me to make three new items was a pretty big accomplishment. They all turned out delicious…as always. So far, most of the keto recipes I’ve tried have been pretty good. Of course there are those that are my favorite, and some that were good, but probably won’t happen again. And with so many to try, that last statement occurs every once in a while.

My first endeavor was mayonnaise. I’ve been wanting to make my own for several years now, but for some reason I had this vision of a labor-intensive not-so-good-tasting glop of stuff I would never put on a sandwich. None of the above applied to this process. I made it in a pint-sized mason jar. I added all the ingredients, and used an immersion blender to combine. It was literally done in about a minute. And, yes it is gloppy, but isn’t all mayonnaise? I used organic olive oil for my first try, and the one I use is a stronger-flavored one for our salads. So, the mayonnaise is a bit bold, but it is still delicious. There are so many recipes for this homemade goodness. Choose your favorite one online. Here is a picture of mine:

The next recipe on my agenda was cake. This recipe was easy to make, and I was wanting that ooey goey butter cake taste. I may have baked mine just a tad too much, but it was still very soft and yummy. There is just a tiny taste of the almond flour, but if this bothers you, use a finer ground version. It was definitely buttery!

Here is the link for this recipe and tips to make your cake perfectly! https://joyfilledeats.com/keto-butter-cake/

Lastly I tried a new brownie recipe. I will forever be on the search for the perfect-tasting, and texture brownie that is keto. I love chocolate, and brownies have always been a favorite of mine. These were also very easy to make. I was shocked that they used so little coconut flour! If you are not a fan of almond flour, then this recipe is for you. I used the Anthony’s brand mentioned in the recipe, because that is what I had. I did not notice any coconut flavor in these brownies. A major ingredient in these is eggs, and the batter tasted pretty close to those remembered boxed brownies I made so often. I may have undercooked these just a bit, but they are very good.

Try your own here: https://www.fittoservegroup.com/low-carb-brownies/

The day was a triumph for me. I don’t normally bake so much when it is still hot outside. Last Friday was nearing 90 or so again. But autumn is almost here, and cooler temperatures will have me in that baking mood. And of course, I have a list of new recipes to try already to go. 😉

What are you looking forward to making? And if you try any of these recipes, please let me know how they turned out. I would love to hear about your adventure. Have a great day!

P.S. As with so many of the keto recipes I’ve tried, a couple days after…the cake and brownies are even better! The mayonnaise is holding up very well too. I do apologize for the wrong spelling of immersion blender in the original post. This was caught by my husband. What was I thinking? Probably not much…and that was the problem! 😉

Farewell Summer

Summer is officially over…as of today.

When I was young, this made me sad. Summer, and all the activities we were involved in was one of the highlights of my youth. For a few years, I was in summer school. I know that may send shivers down some spines, but for me it was a few weeks when I could extend the classes that I really loved in school. I took art classes…fun stuff like pottery, and macramé. My siblings and I always took swimming lessons, and then spent every day at the pool.

When the first cool breezes hit Longmont, Colorado, (where I lived until I was thirteen), we knew it was time for school to begin once again. There was always a shopping trip to purchase new clothes and shoes for the school year. These clothes came with instructions from our mother of what day, under what circumstances, and what kind of weather those pieces of clothing were for…and we didn’t stray. You were not caught in school clothes if you were playing in the yard, and never on a weekend. Work clothes were not worn to school, and church clothes were for church, and only very special occasions. This list of instructions was the same for all children. When the cool weather changed to winter, you added a cardigan to your dress, and sometimes tights, or knee-high socks. I spent many mornings waiting for the school bus and wishing I had remembered my tights instead of the knee-highs. I would board the bus with red, chilled-to-the-bone knees.

After the first day of school, you had your school-supply list. That of course meant another trip to the store. I think I was in middle-school before a list was posted before school started. That second trip to the store was fun, and must have cost my parents a small fortune when all four of us were in school. But back then, those supplies were yours to use. A nifty little school box, (that we kept caterpillars in), stored our pencils, erasers, and little scissors. If you were really fortunate, you had your own pencil sharpener that didn’t eat up too much of your pencil, saving you the wait time of using the class crank one. Life was easy back then, and the little things meant a lot.

Memories make up so much of our lives, and I have many good ones. I started this post with the end of summer, and even as an adult, it makes me melancholy. The days are already becoming shorter, and the mornings have that autumn feel, even if the temperature rises into the nineties. Outdoor projects once again beckon me, but now they are a process of getting things ready for the winter. A winding down, preparation for the holiday season ahead.

One day, my goal is to spend a substantial amount of my year beside the ocean. Seaside is still my favorite place to be. A few trips to see my father’s side of the family in the San Diego area, made many good memories for me. Most notably the time we spent at the ocean. The beaches were a little more crowded than I liked, but the crashing waves, sand sifting beneath your feet, and that salt-water tinge in the air were always there. In my young-adult years, I was introduced to the Cape Cod surroundings, and I felt as though I had found my special place beside the ocean. It still beckons.

For me, summers always mean water, and that seaside experience. I don’t even want the palm trees and sand, but the sand dunes and beach roses. White picket fences trailing into oblivion, dune grass swaying in the ocean breeze. Even though I’ve lived in the middle portion of the United States for most of my life, this is my picture of summer.

And today, those pictures are replaced with the memories of trudging off to school in a plaid dress, wet leaves plastered on the sidewalks. That damp smell filling your head, as the heavy air lingers around the trees.

Good-bye summer…until next year.

Pray Without Ceasing

Good Sunday morning to you!

The title to this post says it all. We ask for prayer for our loved ones, our friends, to help us get a job, to be patient, and the list goes on. At times, I just need prayer for myself…without ceasing.

This video was from many years ago. Back when our family was doing concerts. Back when our three youngest children still lived at home, and only our oldest was married. There have been so many miles traveled since those days! So much prayer needed for our family, and struggles we’ve had. Just like any other family out there.

Here’s Catherine Emily singing. She has a beautiful voice now, at almost seventeen years old. Alyssa Lynn is on the mandolin, and our son, Nathan on the guitar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcBA3Uc2XC8

Special memories!

Making Progress…

With cooler temperatures just around the corner here in the mid-west, I won’t be able to put off our kitchen project finishing-touches much longer. There is something to be said about opening a door and letting the autumn breezes drift through. Especially when you are painting and staining. I will be able to do just that very soon!

The major projects involved are about done. Two extremely gracious and merciful son-in-laws will be over this weekend to install a window in the attic. I rely heavily on this kind of help, and I’m very appreciative of it! Me climbing very high on a ladder has never happened much, and most certainly not now at 56 years young. Hopefully we will have a chance to celebrate the window installation with a hot dog roast over the fire pit. Also a cooler weather kind of thing to do!

I have promised updates on the kitchen. After all the trim is back up, I will share again. For now, just a few little peeks at what has been happening. And may I say again…I absolutely love the kitchen!

The two pictures above are the north wall of the kitchen. The cupboards are all the same color, so something with the bright sunlight coming in the new kitchen door was making the butter-yellow take on a different hue. Note the cookie jar on the left counter. My mother enjoyed her grandmother’s cookies in this little gem.

My view out the new kitchen door, where there was once a window. This is looking northwest.

My view out the same door looking southwest. Our grandson worked very hard digging out this little pond area for me! We have seven goldfish, that aren’t so little anymore. They survived the frigid winter this past February, and they even had some babies. This year the plants had two yellow flowers. It’s been a pleasure to see this view out my kitchen!

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of September in your part of the world. For me, it’s always signaled the start of autumn. A time of cooler weather, more baking, and the delicious aroma of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and apples.

Have a great day!

The header picture for this post is by: Image by Peter H from Pixabay

A Walk With a View

Now that my husband is home more often…I think they call it retired, we have been trying to incorporate a morning walk into our routine. At some point, more than a mile would be great, but that will have to be after the temperature drops into the sixties. Walking in ’80’s and above with the sun beating down, and humidity at jungle level is not fun!

We are blessed to live in a small town with a lot of places to walk safely. Just from our front door, we could head to our River Walk in less than five minutes.

Those two trees on either side of the bridge are gorgeous in the autumn when they turn red. This past year, they have extended the River Walk once again, and you can meander along the Neosho River for quite a bit. Some amazing volunteers from our town also put in an amphitheater just down a bit from where we took this picture. It has been put to fantastic use several times in the past few months since it was finished.

Even though the River Walk is just a few minutes from our house, I always prefer to walk at the lake whenever possible. I love being near water, and in the summer, the cool breezes blowing our way make it very nice. Four times around this loop make it a little over a mile. This picture does not show the brilliant sunlight that day!

Our little town also has a portion of a rail trail running through it. For me, it’s not the best place to walk because of the vegetation nearby. (I seem to break out in a rash whenever I glance at something green and potentially itchy.) But it has been the location for a few family walks over the years, and great for bike-riding.

With lower temperatures just around the corner, our walking routine may pick up. Those cooler temperatures also make yard work, and kitchen projects a little easier to handle. So, keep checking in. I will post some after pictures of the kitchen soon. I haven’t forgotten.

Until next time, this is where I would love to be walking. Have a great afternoon!

Summery Lemon Goodness

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I started eating better, and basically applying a lot of Keto-type eating to my diet. I stopped weighing myself long ago because of the debilitating roller-coaster it put me on. I do know that I’ve lost weight, but more importantly I feel so much better! Much of the inflammation I struggled with is gone, and I have more energy.

My husband has also been doing better. He isn’t as strict as I am, but I’ve been amazed that he has enjoyed many of the recipes I’ve tried. I no longer bake with flour or sugar, and I try to stay away from those two items as much as possible.

The community of people that apply this way of eating has been such a tremendous help in my journey. Without the recipes, and the encouragement from others, I don’t think I would have stayed the course. There is so much support out there! Because of this phenomenal support, there are so many sites and groups you can hook-up with.

This post is about the yummy lemon cookies I made on Saturday. I love anything lemon, and I especially love it during the summer months. So my only regret with these cookies is I found them in August and not April!

I’ve printed off several recipes from this group. Another one I’m anxious to try is the Red Velvet Cake. I’ll be ready for the winter months with that one! I was always disappointed that a Red Velvet Cake did not taste more like chocolate, because I always thought that was part of it. It was very interesting to learn of the reason why it doesn’t taste more like chocolate. But I’ll save that for another post…after I’ve tried the Red Velvet Cake recipe. 😉

For now, here is the link for these lovely lemon cookies: https://www.fittoservegroup.com/low-carb-nut-free-tangy-lemon-cookies

At one time I made boxed-cake mix cookies. These lemon cookies, after being refrigerated, had the same softness, and tasted very much like the lemon cake mix. But so much better! These cookies have a freshness that is lacking in anything boxed. The drizzle you put on top really does harden, and it is so good! I’ve kept these cookies in the fridge because of the heavy whipping cream in the drizzle. That coolness just makes these taste better in my humble opinion. For those that are not a fan of almond flour, these cookies use only coconut flour. I was also concerned that the recipe would not make much. After baking/cooking for large families, I always double everything. I did not do that for this first-time-through. The recipe says it will make 24 of these little gems, but I had about 30, and they were nice-sized cookies. I will double it next time though! I want these around for awhile. My husband and I did quite a bit of damage to my supply this morning with coffee.

Another group I follow is: https://www.facebook.com/JoyFilledEats

I have shared a recipe or two on here, and I have made most of my recipes from Joy Filled Eats. I make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars weekly, and I always double the recipe. These were my husband’s go-to snack with coffee or tea while he was still working. They travel nicely and I store these on my kitchen counter for a week at a time. I love the collagen in them, and I attribute that to the amazing finger nails I’ve been growing over the past year. Although those nails are not so good for my writing career! Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: https://joyfilledeats.com/chocolate-chip-cookie-bars

I know this keto way of life is a really big thing right now. For me, it is very much the way I was eating before I was married…before it was cool. And I didn’t even know I was doing anything special. I just ate as pure as I could, stayed away from anything fried, and didn’t eat flour or refined sugar. I limited fruits to treats, and generally ate some form of protein with them. Any of our children will tell you that their snacks were generally a banana with peanut butter…and the peanut butter was just peanuts. I don’t think any of them enjoy a banana to this day! lol That way of eating worked for me when I was nineteen, and it’s working now.

The absolute best thing about eating this way now, and I say lifestyle most of the time when I refer to it…is the recipes available. A big shout-out to those that take the time to figure out the recipes, take pictures, post about them, and answer questions. You all are loved!

The Deep, Deep Love…

Today is Sunday, a day when many go to places to worship. A day set aside for that purpose in our busy lives. As a Believer, Sunday is not the only day for me, and many days are filled with hours of praying, recalling Bible verses, and applying God’s Truth in my life.

Once such verse I was reminded of recently is one I used frequently when our children were growing up.

Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (KJV)

This verse was memorized and quoted, usually for the purpose of a disagreement, and a reminder of how we should respond and treat one another. 

Our children are grown, and this verse came to mind once again. Not to be a reminder for them...but a reminder for me. A verse to be applied to all. Not just those I like, or admire, or agree with. But those individuals that pass through my life, that I may not agree with, or admire in a particular way. Just another person that is deserving of kindness, and forgiveness, just as Christ has done for each one of us. 

This verse levels the playing field, leaving no room for prejudice, judgement, or hate. We are all equal, and race, color, education, and monetary success means nothing. 

Today is Sunday. Remember what God has done for us, and the deep, deep love He has for each one of us. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPlOQk-Rr8U

Just the Bears Watching

As a rule, I generally don’t talk politics on social media platforms. I may like or comment on something that is important to me. But I don’t engage in heated discussions.

The biggest reason for this is my writing. As an author of women’s Christian inspirational fiction, I want to reach readers with the redeeming message of God’s work in our lives. We are here for a purpose, each one of us. And it’s our responsibility to figure out what that is and live it to our fullest potential. I want my books to show that life is really rotten at times, but you can survive that and go on. You don’t have to be perfect, look beautiful, or have your life in order. You just have to keep getting back up and forging ahead.

I don’t want that message taken away by me fighting for my rights, or taking sides. All of us know what side we are on, what we believe. Some are more vocal about it than others.

Believe me, I’ve prayed, and thought long and hard about my position concerning social media platforms and writing. They are a huge help with any small business. They are a fantastic marketing tool.

But they are also developed by people that don’t have the same goals in life as I do as a general rule. Every decision I make in my life, every step I take is balanced with my belief in the Bible first, and then my beliefs as an American. I believe the Bible sets us free, and I choose to live my life by certain standards.

I firmly believe that all the social media platforms developed by all the names we are now familiar with have the right to control content. They developed them, it’s their site. They made the rules. We can play or not.

Because I believe I have freedom to choose, freedom to live my life the way I want, I may not play much longer. And that is my choice.

The problems begin when someone’s rights step on mine. Just because you have the freedom to do something, doesn’t mean you have the right to do it, or that you should. There are always consequences. You may like to run around in your yard with no clothes on. If you live in the middle of nowhere and just the bears are watching, that is your choice. But in a neighborhood, there are consequences for those actions. The biggest one being against the law in most places. On a more human level…just plain offensive to some.

Image by Annick Vanblaere from Pixabay

This past year, maybe more than others, has really clouded the freedom to choose. In past years, if you didn’t want to be exposed to something, you stayed home. If you were sick, you stayed home. Believe me, I spent many years working in church programs such as the nursery and AWANA wishing parents had made the decision to keep their sick children home! But, I could not control them. I could only make my immune system stronger, and be ready.

I think we are on shaky ground now because of fear. People don’t make good decisions when fear is controlling them. As a Christian, it shouldn’t be an option, but it is at times. Because we are human. Being informed, researching, and knowing the facts helps with that fear.

Anyone that knows me, understands that health-related topics have always been important to me. As I said in my last post, that stems from my mother having leukemia at a very young age and using alternative methods. That included her going to Mexico for treatment. There were risks involved. So, I have always believed that health-related decisions are a person’s freedom to choose. I’ve worked in the medical profession enough to not believe it all, and remember to be informed, and make my decisions based on facts. I have that freedom.

I use natural products as much as possible. My daughter recently introduced me to Earthley Wellness.

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Their site: https://www.earthley.com/ I’m including that link for those of you that may be interested in more natural products. I’ve liked the few products that I’ve tried so far. I do not know the people that own the company, and I have no reason to promote them, other than what I read this morning. And that is what prompted this post.

This company was started because of a mother’s concern for her child. She had the freedom to do that. I think the company understands what is happening, and they are taking steps to do what they need to do to sell their products, and speak their mind. Again, their freedom to do. You can read about that here:

https://www.earthley.com/earthley-news-instagram-deleted/?redirect_mongo_id=607e1b80c931070022dccc1d&utm_source

My rights end when they infringe on your rights.

No company, business, or person has the right to share their content on someone else’s platform without consent to do so. I don’t want views that I don’t believe put on my author’s page, etc. Hence the reason I may soon disappear from the big social media platforms. That may be a bad decision from a marketing standpoint.

But I never began writing to make money.

I firmly believe that those readers that stand behind me, will still be there. I have a message to share, and I will until I’m no longer allowed to. I will keep adjusting my strategy until then.

As a side note, and another reason for this post this morning. My yahoo news feed informed me of this:

Yahoo News

The Postal Service is running a ‘covert operations program’ that monitors Americans’ social media posts

Really? A big sigh. More research for me to do! Have a great day everyone!

Oh Boy!

Sometime, I need to research that phrase. I use it a lot, and I should know what it means. Today it means we are in for some real fun around our house. I may have a few family members that disagree.

I really regret that I never became an architect, or an interior designer, or a landscape designer. I hugely enjoy doing any of those activities. If I had pursued any one of those careers, our financial load may have been lighter as well. But, I’m too old to go there now!

My husband would say that I still engage in those activities much too often. But, he’s still here 36+ years later.

Next week begins our kitchen remodel. We are currently living in our son-in-law and daughter’s home, so they agreed to be part of the fun as well. And they are greatly appreciated for it! (No, they do not live with us…so that may be why they agreed. They can run if they need to!)

My goal is to include pictures of the before today, and then some maybe along the way and after. I love seeing pictures like that! I also love watching DIY projects online as well as home makeover shows for that very reason.

Gray part of flooring is in the kitchen, brown, the dining room.

The floors in the house are in good condition overall. When we originally took up the linoleum in the kitchen, we were going to put down plywood and another laminate flooring we had from our last kitchen remodel. But the floors were still intact! So, we are renting a floor sander and we will be staining.

East wall of kitchen with paneling already taken down. Our cat, Feonie having a snack.

This is the east wall of the kitchen. You can see the gray-painted area where the bathroom door used to be. During the bathroom remodel about five years ago, this was closed off. There were two doors into the bathroom?! Strange…

Northwest wall of kitchen.

The refrigerator will be moved to the east wall. Our son-in-law’s suggestion. I actually take their input every now and then. 😉 Two pantries will be put here.

Southwest wall.

The passthrough will be enlarged to the ceiling. We tall people have a problem with it being so low. The dining room side will have a bar-height eating area for three. The sink will be moved to the right side of the passthrough. I have hopes for a door where the window is now, with a small patio area to sit by the goldfish pond.

Rabbit trail…those goldfish survived our sub-zero temperatures in February and they are still swimming strong! In some pretty mucky water as well. It’s been too cold to do a thorough pond cleaning as planned in March.

So there you have it. We are all hoping and praying that next week goes as planned. Tuesday is the gutting, Wednesday the floor sanding and maybe painting. Thursday and Friday the put together part is planned. But you all know how that goes. We could still be putting together in July! You just never know what you might run into.

Today I need to get painting the base cabinets which are going to be a warm butter yellow…just barely. I have a couple wall cabinets painted so far and I love the color. I’m thinking of making myself an office desk in the same color. It inspires me, somehow.

I will try to post again as we progress…but please understand that may not happen.

As another side note…our grandson has been staying with us prior to the kitchen project. He helped with seven post holes so far. And not digging in dirt. An old graveled driveway. We have thirteen more to go…six for the grapevines and the rest for the fence. But I’m hoping those areas are more dirt than rocks. More pictures to follow from those fun activities!

Have a great day in your part of the world!

They Are Not Gone

Visiting your parent in a nursing home is not for the faint-hearted. Add the restrictions…

I worked for several years as a C.N.A., and then as an Activity Director. I did home-health care a couple of times over the years. Back before all the rules. Back when you could care for someone without fear. I did it because I loved being with the elderly. I wanted to know them as a person, and be a part of their life. Even though it was the last part. The months and years that are not counted as being very important at times.

They are extremely important.

Just as important, and maybe more so than the first few years on this earth. Because people are stooped, wrinkled, and cranky, doesn’t mean that their soul is gone. Because they stare blankly, doesn’t mean their soul is vacant.

My mother went into the nursing home mid-September 2020. She had hip surgery, and then some rehabilitation. My father and I saw her for a doctor’s appointment the first part of November. We visited again on Saturday.

And it was heartbreaking.

Again, I’ve worked in healthcare. I know the routine. I know what the diagnosis entails. But seeing your parent in the situation somehow ties your hands behind your back, and you become an onlooker, stumbling along with all the rules.

And I really hate that!

My mother was a vibrant woman at one time.

She survived leukemia as a young woman with four small children. She struggled through more surgeries than I can count, suffered health problems for so many years. And she just kept going. We four children were told more than once to tell our young mother good-bye, because she may not be there when we awoke in the morning. We sat on her bed, a huge tank of oxygen standing guard in the corner as we held her thin, translucent hand, and begged God for her to be there in the morning.

And she was.

She learned to talk, walk, and play the piano once again when I was 12. Her memory was never the same, but she was there. She went on a campaign for our better health as well as hers. And we children dreaded every step of it. The green, sludgy drinks that did not taste like V-8. The hunks of stoneground wheat bread made from scratch, slabs of cheese with sprouts hanging out made our elementary school lunches a trial. We dreamed of fluffy sandwiches, pristine white and easy to chew. Then we could be like our classmates. My deodorant was lemon juice, and it worked for my face as well. At least that is what I was told. Toothpaste that tasted like baking soda, and shampoo that didn’t have suds were my companions until I reached legal age, and could purchase what was so prettily marketed.

But my better health, and no cavities at the age of 56, are my reward. And now an immense appreciation for what my mother did for her family in the areas of health.

And she is no longer there…most of the time.

Everyone that has had a parent in a nursing home has the same stories to share. Their parent’s were vital people as well. I always loved to hear the memories those over-middle-aged children had to share about their loved one. I wanted to know about those real people. Their accomplishments, their loves, their hobbies, and I wanted to see pictures. I wanted to know them as they were long ago. Before the years had taken a toll, before their mind had escaped to that far-away place we call Alzheimer’s and dementia. Because that person was still there…just watching from afar.

I never thought I would see the day that my mother, the woman that had escaped death so many times, would be sitting in a nursing home. Alone, sad, and afraid. And what I had done for so many others, I can not do for her at this time.

Life can be cruel.

My mother and me, Easter Sunday of 1965.