Friday, January 28, 2011

All That Glitters..

I went for a lovely little snowshoe this morning and once again I am struck with the beauty that surrounds me. 

It is a beautiful, sparklely (is that a word?), sunshiney day. 

The sun shining through the trees and reflecting off the snow is so very beautiful. 

Even that lovely glitter that Martha Stewart sells can't compare to the sparkle of the snow today. ~smile

Saturday, January 15, 2011

EASY and delicious bread!! REALLY, it is super easy!

For the past couple of months I have been using the bread recipe from this post Gentle Living from the amazingly beautiful blog Aspiring Homemaker.

The recipe is easy -- read E-A-S-Y and delicious!! My son, Alex, told me recently it is the BEST bread I have ever made. Now... you must understand... not only is Alex famous for his great love of bread, but I have also baked a whole LOT of bread over the years. So I take this compliment seriously. 

When I first started using this recipe I would let it rise too long - I didn't follow the recipe. Bad me!  When I made some for Thanksgiving dinner it was so flat it resembled focaccia. Tasty but not quite what I had hoped for.

I have used different flours in the recipe, my favorite being quinoa (about 1-2 cups per 13 cup batch). I like to add a few tablespoons of organic Italian seasoning to the batch, too and a tablespoon or two of rosemary. However, I receive the most compliments when I use only white flour. I made some recently for a family get together and received the following comments:

"YOU made this. I can't believe it." 
 ~Why is that so surprising???  <~wink>

"Wow! She made this, herself." 

Yeah, the recipe is that good!!

Funny thing is, it really is the easiest bread I have ever made. 
No kidding. 

BTW:  It makes an AWESOME pizza crust, too.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Critically speaking...

Writing is fun for me.
~This I have mentioned before.

Although, I know I am not a great writer,
I have a desire to write better and am working towards that end. 

However, since I started this blog, I have developed a bad habit. 
You see...
I tend to write posts then delete them. 

write them,
save them,
then delete them 
at some point in the future.

So many times, the words just don't sound right.... 

My previous post on France is an example of this. 

I wrote it.

Let it sit. 

Posted it. 

Withdrew it to drafts. 

Was GOING TO delete it.

Instead, I decided that I would reword it a little bit and post it again. And this is exactly what I did. Yay! ~smile~

Well. I have made a new goal! Even if I am not completely THRILLED with a post, I WILL go ahead and post it anyway! I will, yes, I will!

In the future, 
hope to be... 
really should be... 

WILL be...

less critical about my writing and will actually post more often and leave it there.... 

at least I'll try to...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beauty, hope... and French bread!!

I have decided to once again study the French language. It has got me thinking again of the summer I spent in France. For one summer, I was a "city girl". Yes, little ole "backwoods" Penni was a French city girl for a summer and loved it! Of course, it helped a lot that I lived with approximately 25 other Americans and Canadians who spoke English. If I had been out on my own,  I would have had a hard time surviving. (Major understatement!)

It is funny how vividly I remember some of the people I met that summer.  One young man in-particular stands out in my memory. I only met him a couple of times, yet I remember him so well.... he reminded me of a young John Lennon....others I knew much better and hardly remember at all. It is funny how memory works. I remember he was into Mysticism and very concerned about his Ying and Yang.  He was so sad and so serious, obviously searching for answers in this life. Since I was unable to communicate with him effectively due to the language barrier, I am thankful there was a young man on our team who spoke fluent French and was able to tell him about Christ. I wonder where that young man is now. Did he continue searching for answers or did he find the One True Way?

I also remember vividly the night of my 16th birthday. We were doing an outdoor concert for people who lived in a nearby set of high-rise apartment buildings. Quite a large crowd had gathered to hear us, if I remember correctly. As we were singing praise songs, the sun set and an amazingly gorgeous orange/red moon rose. It was one of the most beautiful moons I have ever seen. It was an amazing night filled with beauty, hope, God's Word, and good friends.

Other memories from that summer include: walking along the cobblestone streets eating fresh, crusty, french bread (Yum!!!), swimming in the Rhone River, doing more hard work (construction and demolition) than I ever thought I could possibly do (Loved the great attitude everyone had working together; singing songs when we were hot and tired.), getting dirtier (from said work) than I ever thought possible (~smile), checking our boots every morning for scorpions, and traveling through the French countryside in a little dump truck hauling rubble to the dump.

You might not think so, but those little trips to the dump were magical.  Everyone wanted to go on those dump runs and since there was only room for two passengers and since they NEEDED the guys to go, it was rare for a girl to get the chance go. However, a couple of times I convinced one of the guys to let me ride along and help. You know, I remember very little about that dump or the work we did there (thankfully). The scenery along the way was incredible and that was all I focused on. Miles and miles of lavender fields in bloom. Sadly, I took no pictures. Somehow, I doubt they would do justice to the experience any way. The smell and beauty of those lavender fields are forever in my memory.

Hmmm.... I wonder if this is why I nearly always use lavender essential oil in my homemade household cleaners. Each time I clean, I get a little whiff of France and travel back in time for just a moment or two...