Thursday, February 28, 2019

Grandbabies, Pheasants, and Mountains of Snow

 Anyone else just love sewing notions??

Besides double-seaming the satin binding,
I hand sewed the mitered corners closed. I've learned from experience that babies like to stick their fingers in the corners and undo them.

Hi friends,
I was sorry to miss Terri's Wednesday Medley because I was hurrying to get a baby blanket done for grandchild #12, due a couple days ago.  (The 11th was a great-grandchild, remember? I've still not recovered from turning 70 AND getting our first great-grandchild all in the matter of a couple weeks last summer.) It's kind of late, I know, but I had ordered the fabric from and after waiting for it to arrive, I suddenly got a notice of a refund from them. No explanation, just a refund. Okay, so that means I need to go out and find fabric. When I chose this particular fabric (shown above) in a local shop, the lady looked puzzled and said, 'This isn't very babyish.'  I told her that as soon as this child is old enough to realize that he even has a blanket, he will like the moose and bears on it. Besides, it's a gorgeous shade of green and this flannel is of incredible quality. In case anyone wants to know, it's called 'Return to Cub Lake' by Holly Taylor. And of course the flannel and the satin binding couldn't be found in the same shop. That would have been just too easy. ANYWAY, it was a delight to make and I will look for that artist and manufacturer another time, Moda Fabrics.

Now on to the matter at hand, or the matter that everyone in Wisconsin is talking about: the long, snowy winter.  This is the kind of winter I remember as a kid.

I was only four years old in this photo, but I do remember that when we were kids, we would carve thrones and dishes out of the huge snowbanks, and also make tunnels. I'm wondering why my mom didn't make me wear a jacket. But at least I'm wearing tights and a sweater. It could have been March, Wisconsin's snowiest month, typically, and warm enough at times to stand outdoors for a photo.

 The backyard

 The backyard again

 The top of the driveway, having just been plowed
Son #2

And this is the pose he gave me first time:

 Very funny, Rob!

 On the way home from town today
I love our rolling hills!

 Good thing we know what that wee bit of red means.

 So you get the picture.
We've had a ton of snow
and more expected.

 But this morning's sunrise was beautiful.
I love seeing all the bunny tracks in the snow.

Besides feeding the birds their bird seed, we're putting out corn for the other critters too. It's been a harsh winter for those poor creatures. Everywhere we go, we're seeing pheasants along the side of the road, looking for food. A month ago, we were unusually snowless (for January), and they could find lots to eat. But now, everything is covered in far too much snow.

This poor (huge) fella was sitting on an old bird feeder just outside the office window. I think he was keeping an eye on the other bird feeders, besides eating cranberries in the nearby cranberry bush.  It looks like we won't have any cranberry bushes next year. The bunnies have completely girdled all the cranberry bushes. It's a pitiful sight to see them gnawing on the bark of the bushes. They are so hungry. And yet I know it will irritate me next summer when they're eating my peas and beans (IF I plant them).

 And checking in on the Christmas tree on the porch:
Still going strong. No needles dropped yet. It's been well below freezing.

 One more glimpse of the walkway.

 Tommy & Smokey
(Tommy looking rather sassy, wouldn't you say?)

*** UPDATE ***

In the wee hours of the morning, February 28, grandchild #12, Tobias William, was born.

Praise God for this new little one!

 7 lb. 15 oz.
and just missing his auntie's birthday by a couple hours.


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Monday, February 25, 2019

GF Basil Pesto Pizza Recipe

Before I begin this post with my pizza recipe, I want to let you know, in case you've not already heard, that  blog (Diane) was been removed, suddenly, by Google. She has no idea why, but while she and Mr. Lavender Dreams are  trying to get her information back, she has created a new blog, If you've ever lost your account or found your information to be stolen, you'll know how devastating that is. Please visit her new blog and give her a word of encouragement (and read her story!). Thanks.


For years now, I've been making pizza using Food For Life gluten-free tortillas as the crust. And they're always good, but after visiting Roman Candle in Fitchburg, WI last weekend, I decided to take this pizza making up a notch. At the restaurant, I ordered their gluten-free pesto pizza. It was DELICIOUS. So, of course I had to try to replicate it at home. I will have to say, I actually liked my version even better.

Basil Pesto Gluten Free Pizzas, thin crust - Recipe 

Makes 2 pizzas, 1 serving each, but actually they were filling (especially when accompanied by a green salad) so we each ate 3/4 of a pizza and saved the rest for the next day.

Preheat oven to 460 degrees.


2 Food for Life gluten-free tortillas. (one tortilla per person) Each tortilla is about 7" diam.
1/2 chopped large onion, sauteed in a bit of olive oil (along with the pepper)
1/2 large red bell or Italian pepper, seeded, chopped, sauteed with the onion
Basil pesto, about 2 T. per tortilla
1 can tomato paste (1/2 can per tortilla)
1 can  (13 oz) chicken breast (drained, of course)
Kalamata olives, chopped
Feta cheese (some)
Roma tomatoes (one for each, thinly sliced)
Mozzarella cheese (just a sprinkling on each pizza)

I used a large jellyroll pan to bake the pizzas, side by side. It worked fine, but next time I will use two of my cast iron skillets (shown above). That might work even better.


Using two tortillas (one each for Mr. C. and me), I spread the basil pesto over each. (A few years ago I raised a ton of basil in the garden and had made and frozen pesto in small batches). Of course, Basil Pesto is available in small jars at the grocery store.
Spread half the tomato paste over each tortilla
Sprinkle the sauteed pepper and onion over each tortilla
Shred chicken and place half a can of chicken on each pizza. (minus a chunk each for Tommy & Smokey who were hanging around, begging).
Place Kalamata olives over the top of each pizza. I didn't put an amount here because we like lots of olives, some people probably wouldn't want as many. (At least I have heard of people like that) ;-)
Sprinkle a nice layer of Feta cheese on top of each pizza - not too thick.
Slice the two Roma tomatoes thin and place them on each pizza.

Bake the pizzas side-by-side in a greased (I used a cooking spray) jellyroll pan or skillets.

Bake at 460 degrees for 9 minutes.
Open oven door and Quickly, sprinkle a wee bit of mozzarella cheese over each pizza. Not too much. I'm trying to keep this a fairly low-calorie, low-sugar, but high protein pizza.
Close oven door and bake another 8-9 minutes.

These pizzas were amazing!, Crispy, so full of flavor, so easy, gluten-free, a minimum of dairy, and no sugar (except for what's already in tomato paste).

I hope you'll try it. And of course you can heat leftovers by putting them on a cookie sheet and into the oven heated to 350 - for a while.  They're much better that way than merely getting them hot in a microwave. Yuk. Who wants soggy pizza!


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Sunday, February 24, 2019

The LORD is Gracious and Merciful

"The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and tell of your power,
to make known to all people
your mighty deeds
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations." 
From Psalm 145 

Have a blessed Lord's Day!


Photo: St. Mary's Church, Dover, England

Friday, February 22, 2019

Westminster Abbey, Anglophile Friday

I'll have to admit, friends, that it gets confusing, trying to remember which photos of England I've already shown you vs. which have been shown on Instagram. So if you've already seen these (although I did go back through posts to try to avoid redundancy), please forgive me and just ignore these.

But now we're in London, ready to visit Westminster Abbey.  In case I haven't already told you, visiting Westminster Abbey in December was perfect. My ticket stub tells me that we were there at 11 AM on December 12. So keep that in mind. We've been there other times when the abbey was so packed with people that you couldn't fall over if you tried. This time, it was great. We felt like we almost had the place to ourselves (well, not quite) and could visit the chapels without having to rush through or be herded through like an IKEA store.

A couple pages from my journal.

I love it that I was able to get this photo of Sir Winston Churchill with a pigeon on his head. I'm not sure that he would like it, but I thought it was cute. If you stand in front of that statue and turn to your left, you'll see the north doors of Westminster Abbey.

 North doors of Westminster Abbey

Our main purpose in going to Westminster Abbey was to view the Queen's Galleries, newly opened attic of the abbey. Although you can't view just the Galleries without first paying the usual entry fee to the abbey, (the ticket shown was for the additional fee for the QG) that was fine with us because there is so much to see there, so much history, so many people buried in that abbey! Plus, I didn't want to miss the Queen's Galleries.

If you've heard the term 'Royal Peculiar,' did you know it's not referring to the next in line to the throne ;-), but of Westminster Abbey and other places like St. George's Chapel and other chapels in the Tower of London?

"A Royal Peculiar is a church that belongs directly to the monarch and not to any diocese, and does not come under the jurisdiction of a bishop. The concept originated in Anglo-Saxon times and developed as a result of the relationship between the Norman and Plantagenet Kings and the English Church. Henry VIII retained Royal Peculiars following the Reformation; the Ecclesiastical Licences Act of 1533, as confirmed by the Act of Supremacy of 1559, transferred to the Sovereign the jurisdiction which had previously been exercised by the Pope." - from

Of course the Abbey has a souvenir shop.

To the left of the Westminster Abbey Shop are the west doors, through which Kate Middleton and Prince William entered on their wedding day. Do you remember that day? April 29, 2011. That's almost  eight years ago! Did you watch the wedding?

You're seeing lots of photos of the exterior of Westminster Abbey because, of course, no photography is allowed in the interior. I wish I could show you photos not only of the abbey (check online), but also the Queen's Galleries, that contains many items of cultural, architectural, and historical significance - including so many artifacts of the abbey and clothing worn by various members of royalty. It was absolutely fascinating! 

When I had asked a member of the staff, a Roger Allam look-alike (Endeavour, a British mystery we love) how to get to the Queen's Galleries, he responded, 'With a good bit of nerve.' It's many steps to the 'attic.' We took the lift up and walked down. We were both eager to get up there.

Door to the Pyx Chamber in Westminster Abbey.  

This chamber was used as a treasury for both the monastery and for the British crown. It's just around the corner from the oldest door in Britain. I can't believe that neither Mr. C. nor I got a photo of that door. How did we miss it?? We must have each thought the other was taking that photo. OR, it was so dark in there that we didn't attempt to get the photo. Not sure. But anyway, there's an interesting legend grown around the topic of that oldest door (including human hide), which you can find at the BBC News website.

Here in the cloisters, they were just starting to string lights on the many waiting Christmas trees. It seemed a bit late to me, but then remembering that Christmas Day is actually only the first day of Christmas, it made more sense. We tend to think Christmas is all over on December 26 and take down the tree and all the decorations (well, some do. Our front porch Christmas tree is still up and its lights shining brightly), when Christmas is actually just beginning! (Remember The Twelve Days of Christmas? They begin on Christmas Day.)

Yes, I took a lot of photos, but we had a nice, sunny day in which to attempt good exterior shots.

We had a great lunch in the Cellarium Cafe. I don't remember what Mr. C's was, but mine was a delicious salad of spinach, roasted sweet potato and cauliflower, and pumpkin seeds. I'm sure we washed down that healthful lunch with a Cadbury bar or some Malteasers, just to balance things out.

I apologize to the staffer whose face is shown in this photo. I usually try to clone out faces, but when I got done cloning, it looked like a bowling ball on top of a jacket.

I wasn't kidding about our Christmas tree.
Photo taken yesterday as it was snowing.

Hopefully, there will be many more Anglophile Friday posts, and hopefully you won't mind coming along on our reminiscences.

Thanks, everyone!

Happy Anglophile Friday. :-)


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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Positively Posting on Pets - Wednesday Medley

Awwwwwww, my favorite photo of Bridger and Misty.

Note: No animals were hurt in the making of this blog post, although the only ones still with us are the two at the end, Tommy & Smokey. The others lived long and happy lives. I still miss them. And to those of you who have been around a while, many of these photos will be reruns for you. So this post will contain a mixture of old and new.

Join Terri and the Gang
She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join Terri at Your Friend From Florida
to link up!
Thank you for hosting the Wednesday Medley, Terri!
We all appreciate the hard work!
Tuppence, ready to take a nap in the baby buggy


On February 20th, pet lovers everywhere observe National Love Your Pet Day.  This holiday is a day set aside to give extra attention to and pamper your pets.  This is a good day to focus on the special relationship that you have with your pets.
Did you know that most households in the United States have at least one pet?  While there are more cats than dogs in the United States, more households have dogs than cats, but not by much. Pets are not limited to the canine and feline categories.  There are quite a few who prefer the companionship of birds, reptiles, fish or rats.  Whoever your pet companion is, we are sure you will enjoy spending a little extra time with them on National Love Your Pet Day and reap the benefits, as well such as stress relief and lower blood pressure.  So on February 20 (and every day) show your appreciation to your pets! (blue added for emphasis - by me)
 Jazzie, the grandpuppy, enjoying our front porch in wonderful July, 
the shortest month of the year.
Bring your pet a special treat, take an extra long walk or give them more attention on National Love Your Pet Day.  Whatever you decide to do, spoil and appreciate your pets!  Use #NationalLoveYourPetDay to post on social media.

Our pets are spoiled every day. No need to take it to a new level. They would totally take advantage of it and demand it every day! :-)
 Misty, in her favorite hunting ground, the alfalfa field north of the house.
She loved chasing butterflies!
Within our research, we were unable to identify the creator of National Love Your Pet Day.
 Lionel, still very much missed. This is the cat that would crawl under the covers and come up next to me, put his head and paws on my pillow and sleep!
Oh yeah, Mr. C. just loved that. LOLOL
It was SO CUTE!!

By the way, I am grateful every day that God, our Creator, didn't just stick us on some remote outpost made of concrete, but gave us a beautiful earth, full of so many good things (rivers, trees, mountains, flowers, etc.) AND all the incredible animals. Thank you Lord. Help us remember that these all belong to You and we are merely stewards of your good creation. You alone are so deserving of our worship!
1.  Have you ever had a special pet in your life?  Will you tell us about it?
 I know, I know. But Terri did ask!
This is Bridger, for any of you who haven't seen his photo before (multiple times). That would probably be almost no one. LOL
2.  Did you grow up with pets in your home?  What did it teach you?

Yes, we had pets on the farm. But it wasn't the same. Although I think our dog (a Border Collie) was allowed in the house once or twice, it wasn't a regular thing. She was a work dog, whose job was rounding up the cows. I think my parents, like lots of people on farms, thought that animals do not belong in the house. Oh, how mistaken they were! :-))
 Bridger, Misty, and Jazz
3.  Do you ever wonder what animals are thinking?

I'm pretty sure that Bridger was thinking what a lucky dog he was to live in the house and yet be able to go out and play (or lie in the snow) anytime he wanted, and how he wished I'd forget the way to the vet's office. And that's probably what all our pets were thinking. Except for Tommy, who is 99% of the time thinking, 'Where is that tuna??'
This guy loved the snow! I don't know how big, hairy dogs survive in the southern heat.
4.  Sometimes a pet gets out and doesn't return for a few days. What do you think happens to them when they go on a walkabout?

They take a crash course in how to become parents, which is why it's our responsibility to get our pets spayed or neutered. Millions of animals are euthanized each year because of pet overpopulation.
 Allowed on the road ONLY when on lead.
5.  With cats and dogs being the most popular pets, what is the most exotic pet you have personal experience with (didn't have to be yours)?

Our daughter had a pet tarantula, Rosie. Believe it or not, Rosie was a nice pet and didn't seem at all like a you-know-what.

Our granddaughter had a pet rat. Unfortunately, it never ceased to seem like a rat, to me. Ewwwww! I did let it climb up my arm once, just to try to prove something, but catching sight of that tail just makes me shudder!

This rat, on the other hand, is not alive,
and just used to encourage our grandson to eat. You know, imagined competition.
It worked.

 Waiting for me to finish picking green beans.
He never offered to help, although he kept all the wolves and bears away.
I always felt safe from predators with Bridger around.
(UPS, FED EX, USPS, etc.) :-)
Seriously, a German Shepherd would probably give his life to protect his person.
When Mr. C. had to be gone overnight, I always felt safe with Bridger and a 12 gauge shotgun at my side. It's not that I don't trust God, but He did give us tools and a brain!
6.  Please tell us something random about your week so far...

Well, I guess the only random thing I can think of is that we're expecting another couple snowstorms to come through in the next day and over the weekend. Not that we don't have enough snow already. 

 Back Deck
February 19, 2019

 This cute little fella was the subject of the goat?/sheep? debate on my Instagram account this week. I snapped this pic on our way home from Madison, when we took a nice little detour from the Interstate and instead drove on Highway 27 north of Black River Falls. More barn photos coming soon. I was sure that he was a sheep, but the majority of Instagrammers who weighed in say he's a goat. Whichever, it was so sweet of him to pose for me.

 Tommy, held by Mr. C.
That cat loves being upside down!

 Smokey, lying against the footstool, next to the fire.
I told Mr. C. that when we move from the farm, that block of wood is going with us.
He just gives 'that look.' But that block of oak has been used by everyone who sits next to the fire, including the grandkids (and obviously, Smokey!).
 Tommy & Smokey,
our current pet residents
who are SUCH a delight.
(and almost always together)

So, do YOU have animals in your home?  How many and what species and breed?  Inquiring minds want to know! (That would be all of us!). :-) 
(Spouses do not count.) :-D

You might be interested to know that my soap room is off limits to furry critters. Just in case you were wondering. :-)

P.S. I LOVE your comments!


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Great lather
Oatmeal is very finely ground
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