Monday, February 28, 2005

Quinn Posted by Hello

Cade Posted by Hello

A Play Day Posted by Hello

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of
your existence: The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of achievement.
For yesterday is only a dream
And tomorrow is but a vision,
But today, well lived
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
- Kalidasa, Sanskrit poet, c. 4th Century

Baking Butterscotch Brownies


The recipe for these great brownies comes from a new favorite cookbook of mine, The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook. These are great with tea. I made a pot of orange spice tea in my new McCoy tea pot that I found the other day at a thrift store. I have made these brownies three times so far and the boys especially love them.

"When these brownies are done, the tops are cracked and lightly browned. The optional butterscotch chips may seem superfluous but add that extra touch that makes these brownies memorably decadent."

8 T (1 stick) butter softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
11/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 T molasses
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup broken or coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cups butterscotch chips (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch pan.
2. Beat the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the molasses. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat mixture on high speed until it is smooth.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and stir until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl and finish mixing batter. Stir in nuts and optional chips. Transfer to buttered pan. Spread top with spatula to make smooth and even.
4. Bake for 30 ro 35 minutes, turning pan halfway through. When done, center should be firm but still moist, the top will be cracked, and the sides will start to pull away from the pan. Let cool in pan and cut into squares. Makes 16 squares.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Spring Wreath Posted by Hello

Spring Wreath for Front Door Posted by Hello

Spring Heart Wreath Posted by Hello

The Seed Shop

Garden Seeds Posted by Hello

HERE in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry--
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.

Dead that shall quicken at the call of Spring,
Sleepers to stir beneath June's magic kiss,
Though birds pass over, unremembering,
And no bee seek here roses that were his.

In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams,
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That will drink deeply of a century's streams,
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.

Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells a million roses leap;
Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.

Muriel Stuart

I finially sent off my seed order; It took me so long to decide. I ordered way more seed than I need; but it is too hard to decide!! Everytime I went back through my list and then the catalog with intend to eliminate something from my list, I ended up adding to it instead. So to stop the torture, I sealed the envelope shut and took it to the post office. I will be in need of a mountain of milk jugs to sow all those seeds!!

My Seed List:
ROSEMARY Rosmarinus officinalis


BEARLIP PENSTEMON Penstemon barbatus

CASABLANCA Delphinium x belladonna

COMPACT PETUNIA Petunia hybrida nana compacta rose or violet

GARDEN VERBENA Verbena hybrida white compact

MOROCCO TOADFLAX Linaria maroccana

FOXGLOVE Digitalis purpurea EXCELSIOR

GLORIOSA DAISY Rudbeckia hirta

HYBRID SAGE Salvia x superba

SUPERB PINK Dianthus superbus

DIVINE FLOWER Dianthus caryophyllus


GLOBE THISTLE Echinops ritro

WHITE CHAIX MULLEIN Verbascum chaixii album



BABY-BLUE-EYES Nemophila menziesii

PURPLE MILLET Panicum miliaceum ‘Violaceum’

SALMON PEONY-FLOWERED POPPY Papaver s. paeoniflorum


MARVEL OF PERU four o clock Mirabilis jalapa

HONESTY Lunaria annua purple or white


GLOBE AMARANTH Gomphrena globosa mixed or white

ROSE SUNRAY Helipterum roseum

PAINTED-TONGUE Salpiglossis sinuate

MAIDEN PINK Dianthus deltiodes RED


MOLDAVIAN BALM DRAGONHEAD Dracocephalum moldavica


Baking Banana Yeast Bread

Banana Yeast Bread Posted by Hello

I baked this bread this morning. Quinn and I made PBJ sandwiches with it for lunch. This bread has a very mild banana flavor and has a very soft texture.
This recipe is from

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
51/4 to 6 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
3 ripe bananas mashed
1 tsp water

In a saucepan, cook and stir milk, butter and sugar over med heat until butter is melted; cool to 120 to 130 degrees

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, salt, 2 eggs, bananas and milk mixture; beat on low speed until combined. Beat on med speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a firm dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Divide dough in half; shape each half into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet; cut slits in tops. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Beat remaining egg with water; brush over loaves. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. yeilds 2 loaves.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Winter Sowing

Wintersown Japanese Hops and Old Spice Sweet Pea Posted by Hello

For the last three years, I have been Winter Sowing most of my plants. What is Winter Sowing?? Read all about it Here
I plant seeds in the middle of winter (usually anytime from January through March) in plastic milk jugs that I cut open, fill 2 inches high with potting soil, water, and then sow seeds according to directions on seed packet. I duct tape the jugs shut and then place outside in the freezing weather and wait until they sprout. Yes it looks and sounds a little crazy, but I have fun playing in they dirt and dreaming of SPRING when it is still winter outside. I have had success with many different kinds of herbs, perennials, annuals, and even tomatoes. The hardest part is finding enough milk jugs or being brave enough to ask people if I can have their trash. I also have trouble deciding on which seeds to buy or justifying the purchase--Do I really need 37 parsley plants?? One of the best things about winter sowing is the abundance of plants that I get from one pack of seeds. So why did I buy 4 packs of Sweet Williams the other day? oh yeah, they were only .25 a pack. I love to be able to share plants with friends and neighbors in the spring. This really is Cheap entertainment. Since I am stuck inside on a rainy day with a terrible cold, I am going to order some seeds.

Last year, I had great luck with seeds I ordered from:
The Fragrant Path
P.O. Box 328
Fort Calhoun Nebraska

They have some hard-to-find and old-fashioned varieties.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Roast Chicken Posted by Hello

I found this recipe at Simply Recipes
"The grapes not only absorb the juices and flavor of the chicken, the chicken absorbs the sweet juice of the grapes, making this a succulent way of preparing roast chicken. Note the way that the chicken is cooked breast down. This helps the breast stay moist."

1 roasting chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds
1 lemon, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, cut into eight wedges
1 large bunch of seedless grapes
several sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 cup of white wine
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Rub inside of chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle insides with salt and pepper. Remove about a cup's worth of grapes from their vines and cut in half. Insert grapes into cavity. Add one half of the onion wedges into the cavity, along with a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary. You do not need to remove the rosemary from the stalk. Add a half of the lemon slices to the cavity. If you still have more space in the cavity, add more grapes.

Rub olive oil over the outside of the chicken. Place in a casserole dish or roasting pan, breast side down. Sprinkle outside of chicken with salt and pepper. Place sprigs of rosemary and slices of lemon between the wings and the body of the chicken. Arrange the remaining grapes, lemon slices, and rosemary around the sides of the chicken.

Roast at 350 degrees F in the oven for about 20 minutes per pound. Baste with the juices from the chicken and the white wine several times during the cooking. Place a meat thermometer deep into the chicken breast. When meat thermometer temperature reading reaches about 175 degrees, the chicken is done.

Serve with rice, and include the cooked grapes and juices.

Cade and Verdi Posted by Hello

The Happy Child

cade Posted by Hello

I SAW this day sweet flowers grow thick --
But not one like the child did pick.

I heard the packhounds in green park --
But no dog like the child heard bark.

I heard this day bird after bird --
But not one like the child has heard.

A hundred butterflies saw I --
But not one like the child saw fly.

I saw the horses roll in grass --
But no horse like the child saw pass.

My world this day has lovely been --
But not like what the child has seen.

W.H. Davies


The kids and I made these muffins Friday morning since they did not have school. We baked them in a jumbo muffin tin. The recipe made about 8 jumbo sized muffins. Very Good!!
I found the recipe at
There are great nutritious recipes on this site and also great tips for eating more healthy.

Nonstick spray for the pan
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 to 8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup ricotta
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 12 standard-sized (2 1/2-inch-diameter) muffin cups with nonstick spray.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl.

Place the ricotta in a second medium-sized bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well with a medium-sized whisk after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla, and whisk until thoroughly blended.

Pour the ricotta mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened. Don't overmix; a few lumps are okay. Mix in the Chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. For smaller muffins, fill the cups about 4/5 of the way. For larger muffins, fill them even with the top of the pan. If you have extra batter, spray one or two additional muffin cups with nonstick spray and put in as much batter as you have.

Bake in the middle of the oven for to 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Doggie Makeover

Before Posted by Hello

Did we bring home the same dog? We had Agnes groomed today. The groomer said she was alot of work this time.

After Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Making Bath Salts

Bath Salts Posted by Hello

I made Bath Salts for the ladies at bible study to go with our Spa day theme.

We had a terrific Spa day this week; complete with soaking and scrubbing our feet and hands, relaxing with our heated herbal neck wraps, eating yogurt and granola parfaits with fresh blueberries and strawberries, enjoying Lynn's Spa products, Listening to relaxing music, and afterwards wearing adorable socks that Lynn gave us. And I forgot just hanging out and enjoying eachothers company. Thank You Lynn -You are such a generous and Fabulous Hostess.

Soul Cleansing Bath Salts

1 cup fine sea salt
1/2 tsp liquid glycerin
1/2 cup epsom salts
6 drops Frankinscence essential oil
6 drops Sandalwood essential oil
4 drops Rosemary essential oil
1-2 drops clove essential oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. To use, simply add 4 to 6 Tablespoons of salts to a hot tub. Keep unused salts sealed in an airtight container.

Orange-Eucalyptus Bath Salts
Lifts spirits, eases muscle aches, clears nasal passages

1 cup fine sea salt
1/2 tsp liquid glycerin
1/2 cup epsom salts
8 drops sweet orange essential oil
8 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Follow instructions above.
To lift your spirits, simply add 4 to 6 Tablespoons to a hot bath.

I found great bath recipes here

Bath Salts Posted by Hello

Making Body Scrubs

Posted by Hello

I am so addicted to using body scrubs. I am always trying new recipes that I find on the internet or in aromatherapy books. They are so easy to make. It is fun to experiment with different carrier oils, essential oils, salts, and sugars.
Body Scrubs leave your skin so soft. Apply to wet skin in the shower and rinse well.
Here are a few recipes that I have tried out lately.

Lavender Sugar Scrub

1/4 cup Carrier oil of choice- I like to use sweet almond oil
3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
10-15 drops of Lavender essential oil
Mix oils together, add essential oil and mix well, then add sugar.

Lavender Salt Scrub

2 Tablespoons dried Lavender
2 Cups sea salts
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
30 drops Lavender essential oil

For DIVA'S only! Salt Scrub

2 Tablespoons sea salt
2 Tablespoons Epsom salt
3 Tablespoons Carrier oil of choice
1 Tablespoon ground Chamomile flowers
1 Tablespoon ground Lavender flowers
10 drops Patchouli essential oil
10 drops lemongrass essential oil

I use an old coffee grinder to grind herbs into powder form before adding to the scrub. Mix all ingredients well. Store in jar.

Ginger Spice Scrub

15 ounces fine sea salt
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
5 T apricot kernal oil
4 T another carrier oil or more of the above
1 tsp tocopherol- Vit E - cut open capsules and squeeze out oil
Essential oils:
80 drops ginger
55 drops clove
50 drops eucalyptus or lavender
30 drops lemon
20 drops sweet orange
20 drops lime
20 drops bergamot
20 drops grapefruit
Sprinkling of coriander powder
Mix all ingredients and put into air-tight jar or container. Let set overnight. Makes 20 ounces of scrub. Exfoiliate no more than twice a week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I LOVE YOU TAG for Hand Posted by Hello

Valentine I LOVE YOU hand

I LOVE YOU HAND Posted by Hello

The kids and I had fun making these "I love You" in sign language hands for Valentine's Day. We filled plastic food service bags with red Hershey kisses in each finger and then filled the hand full of red hots. After filling the hands, we used double stick tape to place the two middle fingers on the hand to form the I love you symbol. We tied them shut with ribbon and attached a poem I typed up on photo paper. I found the poem here.

Cupid's Arrow Valentine

Cade's Valentines for Classmates Posted by Hello

Cade and I made these Arrows for his classmates. We taped construction paper around a roll of Spree or Sweet Tart candies. Then attached a red Hershey kiss to one end of the candy with double stick tape for the tip of the arrow. I cut a piece of a folded construction paper strip to form the other end of the arrow and taped it to the candy. We attached construction paper hearts and printed gift tags to the candy by paper puching holes and stringing ribbon through the holes and tying it around the arrow.

Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Valentine Cookies Posted by Hello

I made a batch of my favorite sugar cookie dough recipe. I rolled and cut the dough using a large heart-shaped cookie cutter. Then I cut out the center of each heart with a smaller heart-shaped cookie cutter. I placed the cut cookies on a silpat lined baking sheet. Next, I filled the center of each unbaked cookie with crushed cherry and watermellon flavored jolly ranchers. I baked the cookies until done. These cookies need to cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.

My favorite Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe: Rich Rolled Sugar Cookies

# 1 cup butter
# 2/3 cup sugar
# 1 large egg
# 2 1/2 cups flour
# 1/2 teaspoon salt
# 1 teaspoon vanilla


* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1 pinch salt
* 1/4 teaspoon flavoring
* water

Royal Icing

* 2 egg whites
* 3 cups confectioners' sugar
* fresh lemon juice, 1 lemon



Cream butter and sugar.

Beat in egg and flavoring.

Combine and add flour and salt.

Chill dough 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll thinly and cut.

Bake 5-10 minutes

Quinn Playing Games at V-day party Posted by Hello

Friday, February 11, 2005

Snowman Valentine Posted by Hello

Old Wooden Recipe Box

Old recipe box Posted by Hello

I found this charming old recipe box at a tag sale last summer for $4.00. I have enjoyed it so much. It is a collection of yellow and worn recipes cards and magazine or newspaper clipped recipes from the past. Some of the cards are typed and others are hand written recipes. Once in a while I try something out of the box. Some of the recipe cards have the name of the woman who shared the recipe and some even have the date on them. I love it when there is a comment like "Good" or "Excellent" scribbled in the upper right corner of a one time favorite recipe.

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