Friday, December 28, 2012

who actually makes feta cheese??

I have a friend from college whose middle name is "Martha Stewart".

Debby . . .
is a steadfast christian
is a very talented artist
is a "home keeping" wonder
grows and cans all of their vegetables
always cooks everything from scratch
teaches art classes to a home school group
has a homeopathic remedy for most ailments
takes care of a hillside farm with her engineer husband
home schooled her 4 children {all college graduates now}
has been a faithful friend for 43 (!) years

She gave us this wonderful basket of homemade gifts for Christmas.

hot pepper jelly {Christmas eve hors d'œuvre}
lemon curd {served with our blueberry bread}
eggs from her chickens {Christmas breakfast}
feta cheese {so creamy and delicious on our salads}
cards {painted by her very talented youngest daughter}

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 23, 2012

christmas martini

Christmas Martini
{4  servings}

8 ounces good quality vodka
4 full size quality candy canes *
8 ounces cranberry juice

Break candy canes into small pieces. Put candy cane pieces into a 12 ounce jar and add 1 cup vodka. Screw on lid and shake to mix. Let vodka sit in refrigerator, shaking occasionally, until candy dissolves and vodka turns red, about 30 minutes.

Serve over ice in martini glass:
2 ounces candy cane infused vodka
4 ounces cranberry juice

I bet it would be good in sprite or tonic as well if you like a "taller beverage".

*I used candy canes from the Dollar Tree in one batch and the vodka 
turned out pink and cloudy. It tasted the same but wasn't as pretty.

I packaged some of the vodka in 8 ounce water bottles to give as gifts.

Original Rachel Ray Recipe

Candy Cane Vodka
12 full-sized candy canes
1  750 ml bottle vodka

Break candy canes into small pieces. Put candy cane pieces into bottle of vodka. Screw on lid and shake to mix. Let vodka sit, shaking occasionally, until candy dissolves and vodka turns red, about 30 minutes. Serve over ice, or use to spike eggnog or hot chocolate.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Ezra Sparrow {3 months old}
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Monday, December 17, 2012

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Reid, U.S. Army

Every Sunday we DVR and then watch 
"This Week" with George Stephanopoulos 

At the close of each program in a segment called 
In Memoriam
where they scroll a listing of all reported military deaths from that week 

It is always sad to read these names but this week was particularly sad for our community 

On the list was 
Staff Sgt. Nicholas Reid, U.S. Army

A 26-year-old soldier from Brockport died December 13 in Landstuhl, Germany from wounds suffered on December 9, in Sperwan Village, Afghanistan. The Army said his family was with him when he died.

Reid was wounded when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device IED. He was assigned to the 53rd Ordnance Company (EOD), 3rd Ordnance Battalion, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Reid entered the Army in 2006. This was his second deployment to Afghanistan. He had been there since September.

This is how I remember Nick, a cute little red-headed boy who played soccer with my son.

Our prayers are with the Reid family as they struggle through this tragic time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

pray big

Do you pray for your children?
My children are all in states of transition and I pray for them daily.

One is getting married in 6 months
One has moved across the country with his wife and is starting a new job
One has moved home to return to college and has chosen a rigorous course of study
One lives half way around the world raising two children in a developing country

Even though they are all young adults their needs are many.

This sermon last Sunday was what my spirit needed.

December 9, 2012
Pastor Lyn Olson
Philippians 1.3, 7-11
{listening to this sermon would be 20 minutes well spent}

More Venice Presbyterian Church Sermons

In the bulletin was this poem . . .

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

if it's not all right

I used to worry more.
About a year ago I did a post about
not letting worry steal my joy.

This week Mr. Corners and I watched a great movie
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

My take away quote from this movie is my current mantra . . .

Everything will be all right in the end...
if it's not all right . . .
then it's not yet the end.

You can watch a trailer from the movie here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

flame-less candle lampshade

How cute is this simple project . . .

I made them for favors at Thanksgiving.
Wouldn't they be a fun little gift for your holiday gatherings?

Supplies: small wineglasses, scrapbook paper, LED tea lights, scissors, and clear tape

Print the template {see below} on a piece of 8.5" by 11" paper.
Trace the shape onto scrapbook paper to create the shade
Cut out the shade
Bend into shape and tape to secure
Put a tea light into a small wine glass
Add the shade and adjust to sit evenly.

Since these shades are paper do not use regular tea light candles

I purchased my tea lights at the Dollar Tree.

After Christmas you could switch out the shades to a winter theme
or get them ready for the next holiday.

Candle Lampshade Template

Adapted from: Candle Lampshade Craft - Good Housekeeping Magazine

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

jalapeno popper dip

I found this hors d'oeuvre in Taste of Home Magazine recently and with
a few changes it has become a favorite for our Wine-on-Wednesday gatherings.

image credit:

Jalapeno Popper Dip
{this recipe tastes like a jalapeno popper}
16 Servings
Prep: 10 min. Bake: 25 min.

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 oz can chopped green chilies
4 oz can diced jalapeno peppers
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Raw vegetables or tortilla chips

In a large bowl, beat the first five ingredients until blended; spread into an ungreased 9-in. pie plate. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; top with bread crumbs.

Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Serve with veggies and/or chips.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

weekend fun

When two young adults get married it not only connects
their lives forever, but that of their famlies as well.

"Let's call this weekend not Meet the Parents,
but Let the Parents Meet Each Other!" {L.A.}

It was a pleasure getting to know the Atlanta Allens and . . .
we thank the youngsters for planning such a fun weekend.

We look forward to meeting Wanda soon as well.
She was delayed by Hurricane Sandy and couldn't make the meet-up.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

trinity house

We just returned from a visit with our son and his fiancé in Philadelphia. They live about ½ mile from Old City (Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’ House, etc) so we were able to do a lot of walking and exploring. They have recently moved to a Trinity House which has an interesting historical story.

Snippets from the internet . . .

What is a Trinity house?
A Trinity house is a three-story house with each floor containing one room. The Trinity house is believed to have originated in Philadelphia as early as the year 1720, and nearly 300 years later, Trinity houses are still found across the city of Philadelphia. Trinity houses are typically quite small.

bonus courtyard

street level kitchen

In the 18th century, the Trinity houses in Philadelphia contained an exterior door, no running water, community toilet, and treacherous winding staircases. In the centuries since the birth of the Trinity house, many improvements have been made to make living in cramped quarters much more pleasant.

second floor living room and bathroom

The modern Trinity
Trinity houses are still in use today, just with many modern updates. One of the most notable changes to the Trinity is the addition of running water and indoor facilities. The Trinity house still typically has one room on each floor, winding staircases, and one exterior door. Trinity houses can be found in many of Philadelphia's neighborhoods, including Center City and Society Hill. In today's society when houses are getting bigger and bigger, the Trinity house is a good alternative for “city seeking” couples or roommates.

third floor bedroom

basement leisure room, laundry and storage

Their trinity house was originally 3 homes.
One was torn down hence the courtyard.
The remaining two trinity houses were combined into one.

I am telling you those stairs between floors would keep you in shape!

{I will tell you the happy reason for our visit in the next post}

Saturday, November 3, 2012

quilt ornament bag

Last Christmas my homemade ornament/gift/favor was a quilt bag.
The pattern is called a liberated checkerboard block.

the pattern
{vertical and horizontal lines are meant to be random}


back {and lining}


sew one back piece and one lining piece
right sides together
with strap/hanger in the middle
{call this: piece a}

sew one front piece to one lining piece
{call this: piece b}

place piece a on top of piece b right sides facing
sew around leaving a 2" opening at bottom

turn right side out and stitch opening closed

tuck lining into bag


I found a book called Visions of Sugarplums at an antique store
I tore out pages and rolled them up to put in each bag

I also added some greenery, a candle, a candy cane and berries

finished bag

the basket of favors ready to go

I found Liberated Checkerboard Block directions here.
I modified mine to be 3x3.

{Reposted from January 2012}