Sunday, August 12, 2012


Two things about the "Already??" title above.  First: I haven't blogged since May, so you may think I'm making fun of myself with a hint of sarcasm. But that's not really the intent of the title. It's the second thing: I've begun the Christmas card marathon. Not sending them ... making them. It's only August, but I know myself too well to believe that I can start doing this after the busy-ness of fall begins. In just two short weeks, the evening trips to church will begin again so that the bell choir can start its practices. We always take a breather during the summer. Then, from what I gather, there will be more projects just around the corner at work which will likely keep me away from my humble abode more than I care to think about. The weekends are starting to fill up already. Labor Day weekend is reserved for a trip to Ohio to meet my new great-niece (grand-niece?); something I am looking forward to. October will take me away for a weekend to a high-school class reunion.  And, by the way, I've seen some pictures of my classmates, and they look like they've aged. Have I?  I'm going to bury my head in the sand on that one! Then, of course, there's Thanksgiving. I'm planning a trip to Minnesota to visit with my niece E, her husband J and their covey. I really want that to work out. It's still in the early planning stages, but I haven't been up there for four years. That's too long between the visits that I so much enjoy with them. Thankfully, they have traveled south to see us.

So anyway, this afternoon I decided I would begin a little assembly line for some cards that could be put together fairly easily.  My dining room table is going to look like a tornado hit it for a while.  First there has to be an idea. So I looked through my Christmas stamping stuff, and ran across a Penny Black stamp that I've had for a few years called "Winter Berries." I don't remember if I've used it for Christmas cards in past years, but I really like it.  I also have some Cotton White StazOn Opaque that I've been trying to figure out how to use. Since the stamp isn't a "line" stamp, I thought perhaps I could use the StazOn on black card stock for a snowy look and add a little color on top of it. My plan was to add a hint of green with Distress Ink. Well ... the best laid plans ... and all that jazz.  This one ended up NOT being an easy, assembly line type card, so it will be a one of a kind.  Here's how it went:

I stamped the Winter Berries randomly in a circular pattern to resemble a wreath (the stamp itself is just a branch of leaves and berries -- not a circle).  The photo below shows a hit of the green Distress Ink on the paper underneath the black card stock, but it wasn't showing up enough on the white StazOn.  So I tried a couple of green Copic markers, but that wasn't the look I wanted either.

I hadn't decided what I was going to do with it, but I knew I could make it work. I also knew my final product would be a 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card (black base), so I put aside the coloring decision for a while and began cutting my DP and card stock for the layers. The green DP is 5 3/8" x 4 1/8"; The red is 3 1/2" x 4 1/8", and I cut the stamped image (hard to see here) down to 3 3/4" x 4".

I thought I might try Stickles in random areas to glitter it up but leave the snowy effect of the StazOn. What I hadn't thought of is that the Stickles are in a box in my attic room, and I'm too lazy to go up there and dig through everything. Then I spied my Sakura pens, and I thought, "Hey! That might look okay!"  So I tested a green and a red on a piece of black cardstock scrap, and knew I had found the solution. I had intended to add the color in a few random places, but I ended up liking the look so much that I colored the whole thing. Now only a tiny bit of the StazOn shows up, so I still don't know how I'm going to use that. I'll figure it out for another card at some point.  Anyway, here's the final product.

One down ... ?? to go.

Merry Christmas in August!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Joplin, Missouri - Tears, Laughter, Love

I just got home from Joplin Monday evening. I had an excellent weekend visiting with my brother and sister-in-law who live on the city's north side, about eight football fields away from the path of the tornado that destroyed the center of their town a year ago. Though I've had the pleasure of seeing them several times over the last year, there were a few reasons I wasn't able to make the trip to their house for a visit since that horrific day.

We spent a lot of time talking about the tornado and the stories that resulted from it -- stories of people they happened to meet because of the storm, and stories of people they had already known, many of whom were affected in the most tragic ways, but many who were also affected in the most miraculous ways. One of the stories they shared with me was about a man they know. They had hired him to tune their piano and make some cosmetic repairs to it after they had moved it from Ohio into their home. The man's name is David Vanderhoofven. David did an excellent job on the piano and was happy with the result. He asked S and T if he could bring his fiance by to see it. Of course they agreed, and were pleased to meet Darian after a few weeks. David and "Dee" eventually got married, and their baby son, Joshua, later turned the duo into a trio. David's May 22, 2011 story can be found here. While S tells the stories, his voice weakens and tears flow. It's a year later, and my brother questions why he still gets so emotional about it. I know why. How do you come away unscathed from a time in your life when part of your volunteer effort is to direct people searching for their loved ones to the Red Cross personnel who then escort them to a make-shift morgue.

Healing is a process, and the healing in this city began right away. My brother boasted -- and rightly so -- that the residents of Joplin didn't wait for FEMA to tell them what to do. They knew what had to be done, and within minutes after the storm had moved to the east they started doing it. Their healing process started with their love for each other. With this human healing also came evidence of life renewing itself in other forms. Flowers are now blooming where they had never been planted by human hands. While the evil wind was scattering debris for miles, it was also dropping life back into the the path it had created.

St. John's Hospital

The Street Sign at Illinois and 24th

Some debris remains, and there are still buildings that haven't been taken down yet, St. John's Hospital being the biggest. It still sits on the western horizon and can be seen very clearly from Rangeline Road's commercial district four miles to the east. Still, the progress is amazing. "Everything you see here is new," S reminds me as we toured the area along Rangeline.  They've been replacing utility poles and street signs.  It's hard to navigate in a town without landmarks or street signs. Some intersections have temporary, ground-level printed signs, but other places still rely on the initial spray-paint method to confirm one's whereabouts.

The apartment home where S and T lived when they first moved to town at "The Plaza," had been destroyed. Yet only one year later, the entire complex is nearly finished being rebuilt, and it's beautiful -- as beautiful as it was when they lived there.  Maybe even more. The contractor was able to use the same foundations, so we were able to go into the new apartment in the exact place where their former apartment had been. Even the closet, from which we pulled hats and mittens before heading out to an autumn weenie roast, is in the same place. Being there brought back memories even for me.

We left The Plaza and drove through a number of neighborhoods where homes are gradually being repaired or rebuilt. Signs of encouragement dot many street corners. I saw the results of the hard work done by volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and Extreme Makeover. Children played on scooters on the sidewalk in front of their new homes.

We were drawn to 2427 Pennsylvania Avenue where David and Dee had lived with their baby, and we lingered there for quite some time before moving westward toward St. John's Hospital.

2427 Pennsylvania Avenue

Million Bells in Dee's Flower Bed

Joshua's Toy

Just across the street from St. John's Hospital is Cunningham Park.  Like The Plaza, it has been rebuilt, and, after touring acre upon acre of lots that had once been occupied by family homes and businesses, it was great to see families enjoying a day at the park. The kids were having a blast and squealing with laughter.

Laughter. That's the best part of being with S and T. I can honestly say that I don't laugh harder anywhere than I do when I am with my brother. It's those big, loud, belly laughs that make me double over. It's the kind of laughter that takes your breath away and you end up wheezing and coughing. It's the best. I guess S just "gets me." I have always had a bit of impatience (a big bit) with people who take themselves too seriously. And I think S must feel the same way. He is a professional. He has a very strong work ethic. He knows his stuff, and people respect and trust him. At least it sure seems as if they do. He is serious when he needs to be serious, and focused when he needs to be focused. But he is by far the silliest person I have ever known, and I absolutely adore being silly with him.

So you see, even after tragedy, live renews itself and the laughter returns. In Joplin they call it The Miracle of the Human Spirit.

What happens now? More tears? Sure.
That's going to happen.
More progress? Yes, of course. It's going to take several more years, but it's already happening by leaps and bounds.
More love? Always.
Thanks be to God


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Horse, Cow, Chair

I think I may have mentioned a few weeks ago that I had been to a second hand shop (a/k/a flea market) here in town where I found a decorative rocking horse made from barn siding.  The same day I bought it, I painted it and then stained it with walnut stain. I really like the way it turned out.

Sorry for the blur
Then my friend (who was pregnant at the time), offered this huge entertainment armoire to me.  She wanted to make room for baby stuff in her home and considered the armoire superfluous.  It's a terrific piece of furniture which only weighs about 800 tons. I may be exaggerating slightly. In preparation for its arrival at my home, I painted my family room/dining room and have had the decorating bug ever since.  I don't have a pic of the armoire yet, because I don't have everything just how I want it.  But I do have a pic of a nifty cow that I found at yet another flea market here in town.

Isn't she great?

THEN, I happened across an ad on Craigslist for a black Windsor rocking chair.  I knew it would be the perfect addition to the room. So I emailed the guy, made the arrangements, and drove over to StL last night to pick it up. Just as I suspected, it's a perfect fit. I love the colonial style furniture and hope to eventually switch things out piece by piece in here. Next project is to decide which pictures to hang in here. Thankfully, I still had quite a few things in my attic room that will look great, so all I had to do was go up there and go "shopping."

That's all for now.  Merry May!

It "sits" good too!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Last Time

As I write this, the time is approaching midnight which begins Monday, April 16th. But for now, it's still Sunday, April 15th, and I'm writing about today. Today was a special day at my church, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel, Illinois. Our pastor, William Weedon, received a call about two months ago to be the Director of Worship for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Chaplain at the LCMS International Center. He accepted that call, and today was his last Sunday as our senior pastor. Unlike many of the members of our church, I am not one of the "natives."  I transferred my membership to St. Paul about five years ago.  Nevertheless, I am among the privileged who have heard the Word of God taught by someone who exudes pure joy each and every time he reminds us who we are:  People loved by God.

In our Bible study this morning I was thinking, "This is the last time we will gather to hear Pastor teach our Bible study." Is it proper to give a Pastor a standing ovation at the end of a Bible study? Proper or not, we did. He always packed 'em in. In today's study he talked about the rich man and Lazarus. His first question was "What do we know about the rich man?" Well, we know that he was in hell. We know that he was thirsty. We know that he still didn't "get it." We know that he still wanted to be served. None of those were the answer he was looking for; a common occurrence.  After finally realizing we weren't going to deliver the goods, Pastor exclaimed, "HE WAS ALONE!"  And then he said this:  "Unbelievers are damned alone.  Christians are saved together."

After the study it was up the stairs to the Divine Service.  I must confess, throughout the service, I kept returning to the thought, "That's the last time..."

That's the last time I'll hear him say "Please stand" after the ringing of the bell;
That's the last time I'll hear him say "...and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins...";
That's the last time I'll hear his homily as my pastor;
That's the last time he will bring the Sacrament to me as my pastor;
And finally this: "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."


The last time?  No.  Thanks be to God there will never be a last time.  Nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  We are saved together.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"A Litter of Puppies Aint So Bad"

Last weekend after having Easter dinner with my brother and his family, I extended my weekend travel another hour further south to my parents' home in Missouri. I had pre-arranged a vacation day for myself for Monday, because I knew the pace of Sunday would  So a relaxing evening down at the lake and sleeping in on a work day sounded like a nice remedy. Little did I know, my grandson and two of my great-nieces had additional plans for me. They wanted to spend the night at Great-Grandma's and Great-Grandpa's too. I'd say that's quite a testimony for my octogenarian folks, and it is ... but the urchins had ulterior motives. Yes, children do that. Not only do my parents have electrifying personalities, they also have seven puppies at their house; and everybody knows kids and puppies go together just like peas and carrots.  So who could say "no" to three children who couldn't wait to get their paws on those pups?

We arrived too late in the evening to get to see the six-week old babies who live in their home-made dog house (built by my father) out on the deck. Monday morning came soon enough, though, and I'm happy to report that I did get to sleep in as planned. Dad has a routine of taking mama dog across the spillway on his golf cart so she can run on the dam every morning. It's there they she takes care of her morning constitutional, and then they return to the house where she is awarded a treat. I explained to the kids that they would have to wait for their Great-Grandpa's permission before they could go out on the deck for their first visit with the puppies. Well, I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. They waited for about five minutes and couldn't stand it any longer. I can't say that I blame them. Those little rascals are so darned cute. After wading through a herd of seven happy puppies and lovin' on each one of them, my brother's youngest granddaughter came back into the kitchen to report that "a litter of puppies aint so bad."

The highlight of the day was when they all received their first vaccinations and were ready to be adopted. After making sure that her parents were on board, S received one for her upcoming birthday. My son had also reserved one of them to train for duck hunting, and my grandson was more than happy to take one of the bigger bruisers home with him. I learned yesterday that things are going well so far at my son's house. The puppy seems very content in his new home. There's no doubt he won't be starved for attention.

Before I sign off, I'm excited to report a new addition at my house too.  No, not a puppy. A horse. No, not a real horse; a decorative, primitive rocking horse. A $5 flea market find this afternoon.  Score!  Next blog post will be complete with before and after photos of it so you can be excited with me.

Happy trails!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Think I'm Done For Awhile

Nothing much to report with my life right now, but in case you haven't noticed yet, I have a hard time making up my mind.  Recently, I started gravitating back to a home decor style that must be in my  heart of hearts -- country, primitive, rustic, shabby, whatever you want to call it.  Maybe it was all that country living I did when I was a little girl. You know: "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl." I've always missed living in the country since we moved off of the one-acre plot of land on my grandfather's farm. I was twelve years old then, and I remember on the night before we moved to the "big city" (it really wasn't big at all), I went off to sit in my empty bedroom where I had a good cry. These days, I would chalk part of that up to being a moody twelve year-old, but there's no getting around the fact that I knew I was going to miss the home where I had lived since I was a baby. And let's face it, being twelve is a difficult age for a girl.  Well enough about that.  The point is, here I am with another blog design. Good thing I haven't made it to the blog big leagues, or my followers' heads would be spinning from the various "looks" I've used here. I only have to apologize to a couple of you for the whiplash, and I hope you'll forgive me. I took photographs of some of the decorations I have around the house and made the blog title banner using "Paint" on my computer.  A couple of the photos are a little distorted, but oh well. I tried a different banner maker, but I found it too confusing. I also found a few cute fonts that I thought fit the bill, and here we are. So this is it for now -- unless, of course, I see a little tweaking that needs to be done. Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

10,000 Eggs

If you hide them, they will come. And so they did to a farmer's pasture just outside the Southern Illinois burg that my son, daughter-in-law and their four children now call home. Oakdale boasted a population of 221 according to the 2010 census, but you wouldn't have guessed that today when this otherwise quiet village gave way to a little noise as the townsfolk celebrated their 19th Annual Eggstravaganza. The town was teaming with people who turned out on this glorious last day of March to soak up some sun and, more importantly, watch their children have a grand time. In town, the streets were blocked for vendors to set up their tents to sell food and crafts. There was a bonnet contest and egg toss in the morning, and then trains, trails, ponies, and more. But just up the road and at the top of the hill, we were greeted by a Steel Magnolias-Style Easter Bunny who welcomed the kids to the biggest event of the day -- the egg hunt.  Here's a look:

On The Way


An Important Conversation

And They're Off!



Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Reunion - Mom and Lupe

Once again, this vacation had it all -- Love of Friends and Family, The Beauty and Benefits of Nature, Wonderful Food, and Rest.

Making More Memories

Dad with Some Hungry Companions

Polly's Hibiscus Flower

Sugar Cane Field

A Yummy Mexican Repast

My Sis

Sunday, February 12, 2012

God's Will

Confession time.  I have been teary-eyed (okay, sometimes it's actually outright bawling) since this morning when our pastor announced that he has received a call to the LCMS International Center to serve as Director of Worship and as the Synod's International Center Chaplain. So what's the big deal?  It's only a call! There's really no way I can explain except to say that a "call" in the Christian church, be it Lutheran (like my pastor and me) or otherwise, is -- or at least should be -- considered a very VERY big deal.  A call in the Christian faith is a call by God to serve Him in service to others. These called servants are entrusted to teach the truth of God's Law and Gospel, and these calls have been going on since Biblical times. So we pray fervently that after Pastor W has prayerfully considered this call, his response will conform to the will of God.

More confessing: I don't want him to accept the call. It's because I want God's my will to be done. No, I want my God's will to be done. The fact of the matter is that I do want God's will to be done, but I selfishly want it to conform to my will. Why? Because I am a human, and, therefore, I am a sinner. One significant commonality among sinners is this: We are all afraid of God's will.  Okay, well, maybe not all the time, but, you know, when it really counts for something. We act as if God doesn't know how to carry out His own plan -- as if He doesn't know what's best for every little step we take, no matter how insignificant those steps may seem in the here and now. We often forget how precious we are to Him; that He knew us from the beginning.

I recall the day a little more than 30 years ago when my twin nieces were born. They were more than two months early. While my sister-in-law was still in labor, the decision was made to quickly transport her via ambulance from the little hospital that served their community to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis where the babies would have at better chance of survival. Barnes was, and still is, one of the leading hospitals in the nation. Back then, the chances for their survival using state-of-the art medicine and equipment was 50/50. Parents, think about that for a moment. Consider someone telling you that ONLY if you take your child from Point A to Point B, his life or death is still going to hinge on a coin-toss. After the twins were born, the doctor told my brother and sister-in-law that if they could survive the first 72 hours of life, their chances would get a little better. I already had a child of my own.  He was 18 months old at the time, and I knew how empty my life would feel if he were taken from me. So I also knew how desperately my brother and sister-in-law prayed for their little babies. My brother confessed later that when he prayed The Lord's Prayer, as he reached the words "Thy will be done," he hesitated. He didn't know if God's will would be life or death for his children.  God's will was for those two little blessings to survive and be a blessing to many many other people.  And they have ... and they are.

Pastor W's acceptance or non-acceptance of this call isn't a physical life or death situation like the one with my nieces. But consider what God, in his infinite wisdom, already knows. Perhaps one of His lamb's eternal life hinges on hearing the Gospel message, if only the right person for the job is there to deliver it. God will guide Pastor W to the place where he needs to be, and Pastor will continue preaching Law and Gospel out of love just as he has for years -- whether it is to the congregation at St. Paul in little bitty Hamel, or whether it is to others from around the globe at the LCMS International Center. I find it more than coincidental that today I stumbled upon the following which was included in Pastor's first blog post back in 2004:

God shows Abraham the stars to illustrate
his innumerable descendents.
By German painter Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872),
engraving, from "Bibel in Bildern" (1851-60)
Homily for Trinity 1 (2004)

“And Abraham believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (Gen 15:6) When the Lord made the promise to him, Abram did not stumble in unbelief. He knew that God was not only powerful enough to carry through – even though Abram had not the first clue HOW He would do it – but that God was gracious, merciful to carry through and bring forth this Seed who would bring blessing to all nations.

And by the way, anyone who knows Pastor W, knows that while he was delivering that Homily, he was bouncing on his toes and waving his arms. Has he ever NOT been excited about delivering the Word and Sacrament to us?? I seriously can't imagine that. What a loving and faithful shepherd he is!  Please keep him in your prayers.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Restore Unto Me the Joy of Thy Salvation

Simeon's Moment
Painting by Ron DiCianni
Two weeks. Is it the blink of an eye or an eternity?  Well, it all depends on the context, doesn't it?  The last two weeks have been the blink of an eye when I consider how much I accomplished at the office but how little I accomplished at my house. So much to do, so little time.

On the other hand, those same two weeks felt like a very long time in the context of the disconnect I had experienced with my church family. God has promised us, "If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For when two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." - Matthew 18:19-20  Oh what a comfort to know that all we have to do is beckon, and God is there assuring us over and over and over again that He loves us and will always give us everything we need!  Lord have mercy on me, a poor, miserable sinner.  Try to imagine how it would feel if, after having received everything we needed from our parents, knew that we knew it all, bid them a dismissive goodbye and then heard the door shut behind us -- NEVER to be opened again. How would we handle it?  Would we become hardened in our hearts and pretend that we didn't feel abandoned, even though WE were the ones who walked away?  Would we want so desperately to be assured that we were welcome anytime but be afraid to confess that we actually need to be loved?  Could we even define "hope?"

There were legitimate reasons for my lack of attendance at church the last two Sundays, but those reasons didn't lessen the emptiness I was feeling from being away from that gathering. Yes, God has been with me, and no, I hadn't rejected Him ... well ... except in my sinful thoughts, words and deeds. Yes, I can and do still pray when I'm not in church. Yes, God still loves me when I am not able to be with the others who agree ("agree" - that is to say unity in Christ; that thing which makes us a Christian family). My pastor reminds us from time to time that we are cracked vessels.  When we believers gather together in God's house to confess our sins and receive absolution through His Word and Sacrament, we come away from His banquet table joyous -- we are vessels full to the brim. We may gather for a few minutes out in front of the church to visit with each other, but then as we turn to walk toward our cars, we begin to hear the notes of the music turn to a minor key. Within moments of leaving that unity, we, cracked vessels, begin to leak the joy of Christ's salvation. We begin feeling the bombardment of the "stuff" of our earthly lives, and we begin to pay more attention to that stuff and less attention to The One who gives us everything. EVERYTHING.  Call me a princess -- I want it ALL. I want to be full to the brim, always assured that I am a child of The Heavenly Father, and I am redeemed by His Son, Jesus Christ. I want to experience the same joy that Simeon experienced as he held the Christ Child and said, "Lord, Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy Word. For mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people."  I want to walk away from God's table knowing that I can pass from this earthly life at any moment with the pure joy of knowing that I will see Him in glory and live eternally just as He promises me ... week after week after week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Customized Corn Chowder

Well hello there!  No, I haven't been lost -- except to say lost in reading other peoples' blogs.  It's been a month already since we last visited, so please forgive my laziness in keeping in touch.  This post has been on my mind for a couple of weeks, but I hadn't uploaded the photos to my laptop yet.  I finally got around to hooking my camera up tonight to get that done.

'Ol Blue Eyes used to sing "I Did It My Way," and that's exactly what I did with a recipe from one of my favorite websites,  If you're already familiar with that site, you'll know that I'm not the first to adapt one of the recipes posted there. A quick read of any of the recipe's reviews, will quickly tell you how often "to each his own" comes into play. So, I'm not feeling a bit guilty about adapting one of the recipes I found when I was searching for a keeper a few weeks ago.  I came home from work one evening thinking that a good, hearty soup would be just what I needed for supper. I have to tell you, I have a gazillion recipe books, and I think I inherited all of my grandmother's "hard copy" recipes, but it's just so easy to turn on my trusty laptop and punch up a recipe to fit the craving de jour. That said, I still go back to the old faithfuls from Mom and Grandma quite frequently.

I had never made corn chowder before, so I decided to try it. Unfortunately, most all of the corn chowder recipes I found called for cream-style corn.  I'm just not a big fan of creamed corn -- at least not that which comes from a can. I prefer savory vs. sweet when I have my main course, and creamed corn is a little too sweet for my liking.  So, that's where the adaptation began.  I also remembered that I had some chicken stock in my freezer, so I substituted that in place of the water which the original recipe called for. To top it off (pun intended), I topped it off with the Pièce de résistance, a sprinkle of Parmesan.  Here's how it all played out:

1 large onion chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 cups frozen corn
4 cups diced potatoes (about 2 large baking size)
3/4 cup half & half (or milk if you prefer)
Salt to taste (my chicken stock was already seasoned, so I only used about 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
Parmesan cheese to taste

In a Dutch oven, saute the chopped onion in butter until the onion is almost clear.

Next, add the chicken stock, corn and potatoes, and bring it all to a boil.  Reduce the heat, and cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked through.

Then stir in the half & half and ...

... the salt and pepper.  As you can see, I eyeballed the pepper measurement.  Why drag out measuring spoons, right?  Of course right!

Continue cooking the chowder for another 5-10 minutes so that it is once again heated through -- nice and hot for a cold winter evening.  Make sure to stir it from time-to-time.

Ladle the chowder into oven-proof bowls, sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese, and put the bowl under the broiler until the cheese is toasty brown.

Carefully remove the bowl from the oven and ...


Next time I think I'll add some pre-cooked chicken to make it even heartier.

I'll be interested to know if you try it.  If you do, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how it turned out for you.

Happy February!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Warren Kimble Mojo Kit

To any card-making lovers out there in the blogosphere, I wanted to share a little idea with you (though I truly don't think it's original.)  Every year around this time, I either purchase or I receive as a gift a Lang wall calendar.  I really love these calendars because they are made with good, heavy weight, paper, and you can find whatever style of art fits your home decor and/or personality.  I especially like folk art, country style, shabby chic, etc., so for the second year in a row, I will be displaying the Warren Kimble calendar in my kitchen. The problem is when I take the old calendar down to hang up the new one, I don't want to throw it away.  I'm very good with the "in with the new," half of the phrase, but I stumble when it comes to the "out with the old" part.  This can be quite a burden, as I am already a sentimental person and have too much "stuff" around this house that I've collected through the years from my grandparents, parents, school, son's school, and so forth. Can anyone else relate?  The more I get into card-making, the keener my eye gets for inexpensive bits and pieces of goodies I can use from around the house.  This morning I decided to cut up the 2011 Warren Kimble calendar into usable pieces for future cards.  I've stored them in a gallon sized zippered freezer bag, and I'm calling it my "Warren Kimble Mojo Kit."

If I've caught you before it's too late to retrieve your 2011 calendar from the trash, you may also be able to find some bits and pieces that will save you a little time and money when you need to make up a quick card later this year.  Best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy 2012!