Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Great Tie Dyeing Experiment

Yes, there were 34 shirts in all, each one getting 4 rinses and one wash/rinse

It's VBS at our church this week, and my friend and I are the craft leaders. We stray from the crafts suggested in the curriculum because we want these projects to at least make it home from VBS before getting destroyed. I have a couple [vintage] VBS or Bible camp projects I made when I was a kid, and although I have no delusions of our VBS crafts lasting a lifetime, I'm hoping that the kids are enjoying them. Some may even show them to their grandchildren one day! Okay, maybe not.

I'm so far behind, but hope to get back to your blogs next week. 

Hope you're having a good week! Just wanted you to know that I haven't fallen off the edge...yet.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken Pasta Salad with Asparagus Recipe

When the weather turns warm, it's nice to have a few good main dish salad recipes to turn to. The following recipe was inspired by a recent recipe from Jenn's Food Journey. I didn't have all the ingredients she called for and wanted to make it gluten free, plus I wanted to add the asparagus which is in season in our garden. So, this recipe can be made with gluten-free pasta or regular pasta. If you're going gluten free, I highly recommend Tinkyada pasta as the best brand I've found for taste and for keeping its integrity when cooked.

Chicken Pasta Salad with Asparagus Recipe - Gluten free (or not)

1 large can chicken breast, drained and shredded or broken into small pieces
4 c. Tinkyada (gluten-free) penne pasta, cooked, rinsed, drained, and cooled
2 c. fresh asparagus, cut diagonally into 1" pieces and steamed until bright green and slightly translucent, then cooled quickly in ice water (The important thing here is to NOT overcook it.)
1/2+ green pepper, diced
1/2+ red bell pepper, diced
1/2+ onion, chopped
1/3 c. kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 c. Miracle Whip salad dressing (You may want a little more or less.)
1 t. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
3/4 t. dry mustard
Sea salt to taste
1 sprig parsley
Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, then pour out into the serving dish and garnish with parsley. Also, it's fun to put a few extra kalamata olives on top to add to the color.

Difficulty level:  EASY
Time needed: About 20 minutes to cook, cool, and assemble, and is even better the next day.

I really liked this because I like getting some protein in a salad, I love chicken, I need kalamata olives, the dry mustard gave it a little zip, and the exciting green and red of the peppers and asparagus helped balance the boring color of the pasta.

This post is linked to: Making the World Cuter Mondays and Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and Making Monday Marvelous and Made from Scratch Tuesday and Delectable Tuesday and Anything Related Tuesday and Take a Look Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday  and Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  and Wandering Wednesday and What's Cookin' Wednesday and We Did it Wednesday and Thrilling Thursday and Lisa's Gluten-Free Blog and Favorite Things Friday and I'm Lovin' it Friday and It's a Hodgepodge Friday  and Fat Camp Friday and Fun With Food Friday


Monday, June 27, 2011

And the Soap'n'Such Giveaway Winner is...

Strawberries & Cream

Thank you to all of you who entered my Soap'n'Such Giveaway!
And now, without further delay, the winner is...

A Bird and a Bean

Congratulations, Erin!

In addition to Strawberries & Cream, Peppermint Tea, and Grandma's Kitchen, Erin will receive her choice, Clover Blossom, for her fourth bar.

Congratulations Erin, and again, thank you to everyone who entered the Soap'n'Such giveaway!


Friday, June 24, 2011

View from St. Paul's Cathedral London

Let's just suppose that you were in London, and let's just suppose that you were walking along and looked up to see the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral...

...As you approached the north door
you wondered what it would be like to be near the top of the building to see the view... you walked inside, climbed the 257 worn, stone steps up to the 'whispering gallery,' then another 119 steps to get to the 'stone gallery' an area outside the dome...

Yes, this is it. Looking over the balustrade, you're stunned by the view!  
Don't be impatient; we're getting there.

And wouldn't you think that would be adequate?? But no, because Kevin wants to go the remaining 154 steps to the 'Golden Gallery.'  Why?   Because it's there??

I had no doubt that my husband would survive the climb, it's just that one could, quite easily it seems, launch oneself from the dome of St. Paul's if one were so inclined. Then again, we don't hear of that happening very often, do we. ANYway, I have to give Kevin the credit for the photos from the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery. I was safe inside the dome at the Whispering Gallery, being perfectly content to look down at the gorgeous interior of St. Paul's.

So this is the kind of thing I was looking at (above) while Kevin was risking life and limb several feet above me. He's the guy who's eager to drive Hardknott Pass (while I walk.)

So, can I identify these shots he took? Mostly, no. But I think the above view was looking east from the dome.

From the dome, looking down onto the west end and towers

The clock tower (the south tower) on the west end.

looking north

Looking north, to the center of the financial district
Obviously, Christopher Wren did not design the Swiss Re building

East with a zoom - Tower Bridge

Looking southeast, and on the south bank of the Thames, the Anchor Bar and Restaurant

'This is one of London's oldest and most historic pubs, it was around during the Great Fire of London in 1666. It itself succumbed to fire later on and was rebuilt in 1676...

...They have a big dining room which has gorgeous views over the Thames. They also have a Shakespeare Room which has pine paneling from the 18th century. This room is used mostly for functions and the like.'  from Virtual Tourist

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on south bank

 This is an interior shot of the Globe which I took in 2004 when my daughters and I went to London.
Obviously not a view from the top of St. Pauls

Looking south at the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern
I once bought 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' at the south end of the bridge.
Shakespeare's Globe is just off the frame to the left (east)

Looking southwest, the OXO building and the London Eye

Looking west, southwest. 

I'm trying to figure out what the round building is at the right side of the photo. I think that's Blackfriar's Bridge that we see (just a couple blocks west of the Millennium Bridge) and I think the one in the distance (way to the right) is Charing Cross.

If someone reading this knows, I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment informing me.

Looking south again. There, now you can see Shakespeare's Globe in relation to the Tate Modern

I think this is a long zoom shot which brings what I think is Charing Cross Station appearing so close. Also, there's that round building again.

I think I need to stop obsessing over that round building now (doing a Google search on 'round building in London' wouldn't help me much).

Have a great weekend! Let me know when you're going to London. :-)

Be sure to enter my Soap'n'Such Giveaway if you haven't already. :-) It ends Sunday night.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flowers that Bloom in June

 Seven Sisters Roses

I think these are called Seven Sisters Roses, for they bloom in clusters of seven. When we moved here many years ago, we removed an old wood pile from the yard and in no time roses were growing where the wood pile had been. They've  been going 'wild' ever since. They are beautiful, but it's a challenge to keep them confined. (I'm thinking that it probably wasn't an accident that the wood pile had been put on top of the rose patch!)

Roses with the backdrop of the front yard and maple tree where Bridger and Misty found the bear last summer.  In case you haven't seen a black bear in a while, you might enjoy reading that post!

These are the purple and white bearded irises that my mom gave to me and which my dad helped me plant in 2003. Do you think it's time I thinned them out a bit???

The beautiful rust colored irises given to me by my sister. I love that color! 

The blue ruffled iris and blue (or purple) salvia.  

Also, the cranberries and strawberries are blooming, so it's hopeful that there will be a nice little crop of berries this year - especially after some of the all-day, drenching rains we've had lately. The strawberries are for us (can't wait to make Mary's strawberry shortcake!) and the cranberries are for the birds - mostly the cedar waxwings who will congregate here one day next spring and eat them all at once!

What's blooming where you live?

P.S. Did you enter my Handcrafted Soaps Giveaway yet?  Check it out! It ends Sunday night.

Have a wonderful day!  I see that it's another rainy day here, but it's another day I don't have to water the garden!

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Rescuer

'For he delivered [RESCUED] us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.' Colossians 1:12-15

 'He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of HIS MERCY. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior...'  Titus 3:5-6

'For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.' Romans 5:6-10

When Paul and Silas were in prison, the jailor asked them, 'What must I do to be saved?' They replied, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.'  You can read the whole account right here, Acts chapter 16.

A wise pastor asked his congregation not 'What was the date of your baptism?' nor 'Have you asked Jesus into your heart?' but 'Who are you trusting? Who are you following? Run to the Rescuer. He never turns anyone away.'

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken Fajitas with Black Beans and Rice Recipe

I think I could eat this every night for a week and not tire of it. Black beans, rice, chicken, peppers, onions, guacamole, sprinkled with lime juice and wrapped in a tortilla. Oh yum!

Waiting to be wrapped in a tortilla

Tortilla thrown into the cast iron skillet for a few seconds, turned over, and heated again for a few seconds on med-low makes the tortilla soft and manageable, easy to fold without breaking.

If you don't want to take the time to make your own, I'd recommend this one!

Chicken Fajitas with Black Beans and Rice Recipe: 

(This is also Gluten free, except for the flour tortilla. You can substitute a 'Food For Life' gluten-free tortilla and then the whole thing is gluten free, including the 'Wholly Guacamole')

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix together:
2 T. olive oil
Juice of one fresh-squeezed lime
2 T. chili powder (I substitute 1 t. paprika, 1 t. cayenne, 1 t. oregano, 2 t. cumin)
1 diced jalapeno pepper
5 minced garlic cloves

Pour mixture over the chicken. Cook on low in Crockpot for 8 hours. When it's done, shred it with a fork and mix thoroughly.

Meanwhile, about a half hour before the chicken is ready:

Heat 1 can of black beans with 1/2 t. cumin, 1/4 t. coriander, dash red pepper, salt, and a sprinkling of chopt cilantro leaves. Also, a little GF chili powder doesn't hurt.

Saute 2 red peppers, 1 jalapeno, and 2 large onions in a little olive oil in a large skillet. Actually, we love the peppers and onions, so I usually double this amount.

Cook basmati rice, about  1 1/2 c. rice to 3 c. water. Add a little cilantro and the juice of one lime, a little salt, and a bit of coriander. Bring to a boil, cover, simmer for 23 minutes.

This makes a great buffet. Set out the Crockpot of shredded chicken, a bowl of shredded mozzarella cheese, a bowl of guacamole, a bowl of fresh lime wedges, the rice, the peppers and onions, and the beans.

As each person takes a plate, toss a large flour tortilla into a cast iron skillet that's been sprayed with a GF cooking spray. Heat it on low a few seconds on each side, then move it to the plate. Now your guests can place all the toppings they want, fold it, and eat!

I can make this for a 1 PM meal if I put the chicken in the crockpot on high for 5 hours, beginning at 8 AM.  It helps to have the peppers and onions sliced and in a baggie in the refrigerator so that they're ready to go.


Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such

Monday, June 20, 2011

Handcrafted Soaps Giveaway

Yea!!! It's time for another Soap'n'Such Giveaway:

I'm giving away 4 bars (each 4 oz. avg.) of my Soap'n'Such handcrafted soaps.

  • Strawberries & Cream

  • Peppermint Tea

  • Grandma's Kitchen

  • AND...the fourth soap is your choice

All of my handcrafted soaps are made with quality oils and botanicals, are gently fragranced, and are kind to your skin. Each (as in the photo of the Peppermint Tea soap above) comes wrapped in its own decorative label and is in a cello bag, ready for gift giving! Once you've used Soap'n'Such handcrafted soaps, you'll never want to go back to store soaps again!

How to enter this giveaway?

1. Follow my Cranberry Morning blog (and let me know that you do.)

2. Check out all my handcrafted soaps on Soap'n'Such.

3. Leave a comment on this (Cranberry Morning) blog post, telling me which soap you would like as your FOURTH handcrafted soap, if you are the winner.

That's right, only three easy steps. :-)

This giveaway ends at 9 PM on Sunday, June 26, and the winner will be chosen by  I will announce the winner on this blog, Cranberry Morning, on Monday, June 27.

Be sure to let all your friends know about this giveaway! :-)
Sorry, Giveaway open to U.S. residents, only.

P.S. The winner will have three days after the announcement to notify me by e-mail with their mailing address.

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Starlight, Moonlight

 My parents, wedding day
June 18, 1939
Married  66 years 

 Kevin's parents, wedding day 
August 5, 1945
Married 56 years

The poem and inspiration for this post came from my brother's website, SoundLiving.

What a heritage of long and faithful marriage our parents gave us. Both marriages ended only in the death of a spouse. Both sets of parents loved God and gave their children a godly example to follow.

I thought the following poem was exceptional, reminding us how God uses marriage to refine us.

Love is moonlight,
And marriage is daylight,
And none of us stands the exposure too well;
And most of us long to go back to the moonlight –
Dear nights of moonlight that cast such a spell.

Love is starlight
And marriage is sunlight,
Hurting our eyes with the glare and the heat;
And most of us long to go back to the starlight –
Dear silver starlight when love is so sweet.

Love is dreaming,
But marriage is living,
And tolerance teaches a way to be blind;
And daylight and sunlight seem moonlight and starlight –
After the years teach us how to be kind.

Author, Second Chance - A Tale of Two Puppies
Check out my handcrafted soaps at Soap'n'Such


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