Monday, May 27, 2013

Photo Friday - Traveling

This week's photo challenge was Traveling - how opportune for me - I was on vacation to Montana so I snapped this picture from the plane on my way out of Billings.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Photo Friday - Metropolis

NYC from the Empire State Building - March 2013

Flour and Flower(s)

I figured it was time for me to blog about the 2 things my blog says it is about, flour and flowers.

This week we had the pleasure of hosting 2 college girls who are on tour with their women's choir.  They are an 80 voice choir from Riverside, CA, California Baptist University. I have never had anyone stay at my house that I didn't know - I was hesitant at first for that reason. I finally decided that I needed to be open to change, step outside my comfort zone and figure out how to be a good host.  Of course food immediately came to mind - what would I feed them?  I have been searching for a yeast bread recipe for cinnamon bread so this was the time to try a new one. I have one from The Pioneer Woman blog which is quite tasty but it never comes out right. It is usually gummy in the middle and if I bake it longer the outside is tough. I tried the new recipe and it wasn't too bad. I don't like raisins very much so I put in dried cherries instead. I have a habit of changing recipes to suit my taste. I made one loaf plain and one with cherries. It is pretty good toasted with cream cheese spread on it.

So here it is before I made it into loaves. Smothered with butter, cinnamon and sugar - mmmm!
 And below - the finished product. Looks lovely right?

 I also made a batch of brownies. I used my tried and true recipe from my 35 year old BHG cookbook, but I added chopped pecans and peanut butter chips. Like I said, I like to modify my recipes and they usually turn out great.

As it turns out the girls loved the brownies but rather than worry about toasting the bread and all that, I got out some scones that I had in the freezer and they were a hit as well. With those I had put in the dried cherries instead of raisins and  added almond flavor and lemon zest. I served sliced honey crisp apples and fresh apricots with honey and cream cheese/marshmallow cream for dipping. It was a hit with the girls. I guess I can be a good host after all. I'm glad we agreed to do it. I would have liked more time to learn more about them, but they were on the road again at 8 the next day.

And now for the Flower part of my blog.  The spring flowers are dying out but now my summer stuff is starting to show itself.  I had one last light blue iris that bloomed this week. It is just lovely.

A new lily bloomed for the first time on May 14th, my Daddy's birthday. He would have been 88.
 We miss him like crazy :-( Whenever this flowers, I'll think of him.
 Now the Gerber daisies are getting into the act. These are 2 of my favorite colors. I had a really pretty orange one in a bright blue pot in my front yard and someone stole the whole thing. How mean!  That was for the whole neighborhood to enjoy, not just one selfish person.  Oh well, I hope they really, really like it cuz I sure did.
So now I have shared Flour and Flowers like I said I would!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

See that lady on the left? the one with the flowered apron and big smile?  That's my Mom. She's special.  6 of the kids sitting on the back of the car are hers, and she's pregnant with the 7th. And yet she's still smiling. And that wasn't just for the pictures, my Mom is always smiling and laughing. Even though we were poor farmers kids, we knew we were loved, she made sure of that. I just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day Mom - I love you! (I'm the cute one in the middle)

I realized that over the years, I had very few pictures of me with MY kids. I have 2 sons, Christopher and Nicholas. When I was looking for picture for this blog I realized that I was the one taking tons of pictures of my kids so I rarely got in one myself.  Here are a few of my favorites from their younger years.

 Christopher and I when he was 6 days old. It was my 23rd birthday.  Yes, it was the 70's and the Farrah Fawcett hairdo was in style!

 This is my Mom with Nick and Chris - Nick was about 3 months old and Christopher was 2 1/2.

 The boys and I at Oak Creek in Sedona. A friend took us there for a weekend trip one summer and she took this picture which has always been a favorite of mine. Christopher now lives in Sedona. Who would have known?

This is Nick and I when he was about a year old. Such a lovebug!  And then it was the 80's and the permed hair was in style - really....

So Happy Mother's Day to me too :0)  I love my boys and love being their mother. I hope they feel I was a great mother like my Mom was to us.

Photo Friday - Artificial Light

Saturday, May 4, 2013

How Can I Keep From Singing?

"My life goes on in endless song, above earth's lamentations. I hear the real, though far off, hymn, that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife I hear its music ringing, it sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?"
That song from Enya is one of my very favorite songs. It is found also in the Methodist hymnal but I like Enya's version better. It says something about me.  You see, all my life I have been singing. I'm not a great singer, would never be a soloist, but I absolutely love to sing.  My mom told me that when I was tiny, I thought every book was a songbook and I'd carry them around singing. Growing up we went to the Opheim Methodist church where our Mom was in charge of the Sunday school. We would sing out of the old Cokesbury hymnal published in the 1920's  (which I still have) and learned all the great old songs - "He Lives", "The Old Rugged Cross", "The Little Brown Church in the Vale" - and so many others. I love those old songs. I sang in choir in high school and once I was out of college I started singing in church choirs.

I joined the Dayspring Chorale at Dayspring United Methodist Church in Tempe, AZ in 1994 or 1995. I also sang with the Celebration Singers at that church for over 20 years. As part of the Chorale, I got to travel to Europe 3 times on singing tours.  What a wonderful experience. On one tour my sister Lisa and the boys went with me, and on the last tour Bill and Nick went as well. The picture above was taken in Rome the last day of our Austria/Italy tour. Lisa didn't sing with the choir but after hearing us sing so many concerts she knew the whole thing so she sang along at this "end-of-tour" party. She was my personal hair dresser and "roadie", and the best friend ever!

This is Christopher, Nicholas and I just before we sang mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in 1999. The Pope was on vacation so we didn't see him. We loved all the famous artwork, the Piata and the Sistine Chapel. My Dad could never figure out how a Methodist choir got to sing there. I told him "we are just that good". On this trip we also sang at the Duomo in Florence, a "small" cathedral in Venice and the Dom Cathedral in Salzburg.

 The picture below is of  Nick and I singing with the Chorale in Notre Dame when we toured in 2003.  During that time period Nick was in college at ASU and it was such a joy to be able to sit next to him during the endless practice sessions. I missed that he had moved out on his own and it was so nice to have some mother-son time again. We sang side-by-side for each concert on that tour.