Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What is a hobby?

According to webster.com a hobby is:

1) and old world falcon or
2) a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation

For the purposes of this blog, I'm going with definition number two. I'm sort of curious why a falcon would be listed in the number one spot, but that's just me.

No mention of how often you must participate in that pursuit for it to be considered a hobby. I'm thinking one time qualifies as a potential hobby, two times equates a hobby in training and anything pursued more than two times, spread out over the course of a few months or even years would, in my book, be a hobby.

So, as a New Year's resolution, my hubby and I took off to find ourselves a mutual hobby. We giving ourselves a year or so. Hobbies take time, and time together as a couple, with no tag-alongs, is something we don't have in abundance. Hopefully, by the time we are empty-nesters, we'll have discovered a handful of hobbies we can share in what will then be our "golden years". (When do those start exactly? One of us may have already arrived there.)

If you google "hobbies for couples" you will find all sorts of lists, but I like numbered lists so I chose to start our search here.

Go with the flow is our family motto, and so it will be in our search for a hobby. We may wander off the list or modify a listing to suit our needs or abilities (or lack there of). Some we've already mastered (#222 - TV watching) or one of us participates in that hobby already (#28 -blogging) while the other one does their thing (did I mention #222, and would you really consider that a hobby???) If we were ambitious or say, wanted to write a book, we'd try to sample each or most of the hobbies on the list. I think being over-achievers in the pursuit of a hobby would negate the "for relaxation" element, so we are just going to meander through the list and do what works.

As I mentioned, we set out on hobby pursuit number one on New Year's Day. More to follow......

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello, 2012! Ring in the New.......hobby. Or maybe a recycled one.

The blog lives! Here's to new beginnings for a new year.

Kid number one is home from college and had a great idea - go out for pizza tonight. And then he had another great idea. Kid number one thinks his Dad and I should get a hobby, maybe because we only have 8.5 years before all of the kiddos fly the coop. Speaking of flying, that's what the kid (soon to head off to aviation school) thinks his Dad and I should take up for our shared hobby. That's not gonna happen, but I did come across a list of a few, or 238 possible hobbies for me and my willing(?) spouse to check out.

Here's a sneak peek:

#13 - badminton


#39 - building a doll house

And that's just from the B's! It should be a fun, interesting and maybe even enlightening year for me and my hubby. We are planning our first hobby adventure tomorrow. Bring it on.....2012, The Year of the Hobby.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blessings......Almost in Disguise

The Lord has a way of blessing me that really speak to my heart and grab my attention, so that no matter how thick-headed I am at the time, I can't help but notice it was His doing.

The first time I remember being aware of this particular way of His to bestow a blessing on me in neon sign fashion (or as my husband says, knocking us over the head with a two by four) was in the middle of June, 2004. My mother and mother-in-law had just died, both losing the battle cancer within hours of each other. In a whirlwind of airplane rides, visitations, memorials, funerals and burials, I was unable to even begin to comprehend what had just happened. Our moms were both so young, vibrant, needed and loved - they were just 56 & 59 years old.

It wasn't until we finally arrived home, weeks later, that I began to try to make sense of what we had just experienced. Although, brought up in the church, my faith was still young and immature. I rarely opened a Bible, and we were still church hoppers.

On that June afternoon, some 17 years ago, I vividly recall the thoughts that were running through my head as I unpacked my bag. Those thoughts were pretty much boiled down to "What is this whole thing we call life all about??? What's the point?"

My suitcase was on the bed, and once emptied, I zipped it closed and lifted it up at exactly the moment I had placed a question mark on my thoughts. At that precise moment, I looked down to see something small and shiny on the quilt of my bed, right where my suitcase had been lying.

It appeared to be a small silver, broken piece of jewelry - shaped in a circle with two hands holding a heart and a crown on top of the heart. I recognized it and knew it was Irish but did not know what it signified - not to the Irish anyway, but I certainly knew what it meant to me.

God was blessing me with this little reminder. I asked of no one in particular and He answered me directly - "It's all about love, family and the Kingdom of God." At the time, I didn't bother to look up the meaning behind this Irish symbol (the claddagh) because it didn't matter what anyone else thought, I knew what it meant to me. (And this was pre-Google, pre-internet).

Incidentally, I called all of my family to see if anyone would claim this little piece of jewelry or knew if it broke off of something that belonged to my mother. No one knew where it came from - it just somehow fell from its little hiding spot on my suitcase, exactly when I needed to see it. I may not know where this little silver blessing came from, but I certainly know and trust the One who placed it there.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When God Says Go........

Jonah was possibly frightened, definitely prejudiced (against the Assyrian Gentiles), selfish and all in all not someone you would consider an agent of God, especially when pulled out of his comfort zone. He may have been a prophet to the northern kingdoms of Israel, but he was a miserable example of a Godly man when the going got tough. He was more concerned about his own will rather than God's will.

Despite this, God used this lowly self-centered, runaway prophet to spread His word to a multitude (like 600,000) of pagan worshiping Assyrians. And they listened too!

God can use anyone to accomplish his will. If he wants to use you to reach the lost, He can go ahead of you and prepare the way, just as He did in Jonah's case - having Jonah be swallowed by a great fish just before he was to preach to a nation who were fish-god worshipers. Brilliant!

If God asks you to go, go.....wherever......across the street, across the nation or across the ocean. Save yourself the trouble of ending up in the belly of a fish and just go. If God would prepare a way for Jonah, the runaway prophet, He will prepare a way for you. As Jonah learned, you can run from God, but you cannot hide.

Say yes, pray and just go.

And here's a silly, little limerick that popped in my head, all except for the last line.

There once was a prophet named Jonah
Who when God said to go said "I ain't gonah"
Time spent in a fish
Helped him follow God's wish
Ta da da da, da da da da onah ----- (this is your line to complete.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How we Serve

So this morning, Kid #3 and The Hubby headed out early(ish) to work on a local Habitat House. I'm not so great with a hammer, but I would have tagged along to hand out water or food if I didn't have my own two tag-a-longs at home to watch over.

While helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity is a good and noble thing to do, there are other ways to serve, even if you are stuck in your house monitoring two children who are pretending to clean their rooms. This is the way I chose:

And here's how they turned out, nothing fancy like the book, but I don't think my friends will complain. These little buddies are going to church tomorrow night, to join the cookies and lemonade part of the vespers service.

These fellows weren't ready to be moved to their pretty white plate, but I was impatient and wanted to get their picture as soon as I was finished, hence the wax paper and cookie sheet. I think they are still pretty no matter where they are hanging out.

And these are the cute little mini-cupcake papers I intended to sit my Cake Pops in, but unfortunately I oversized my Pops, so instead of nesting in the cupcake papers, they smush'em. Guess I'll have to give this another try or make some super cute mini-cupcakes.

And here's my little disclaimer in case any of my friends from church are reading this: I cannot guarantee the integrity of these Cake Pops. All I know is that they taste good, but I do not know if after one bite, they will come tumbling off their cute little lollipop stick. Eat with care and be ready to catch the falling pieces.

If you want to try these yourself, I found my recipe in Cake Pops, by Bakerella. Mine were made with store bought cake mix and store bought icing - which is what is recommended in the book. She also has a website where you can learn the basic technique. As for me, I don't think there will be any fancy Cake Pops in my future, but they sure are fun to look at.

fyi: I checked out Cake Pops from my library, but I've also seen it for sale at Lowe's. Who knew? Maybe there is some weird connection between building a house and making a Cake Pop?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Popsicle Kick

It's been a hot, hot summer. If you live just about anywhere in the United States, you probably knew that already. I love to bake, but drastic temperatures call for drastic changes. In my house, this summer will probably be known as the summer of the popsicle. I'm not a foodie photographer, so I won't inundate you with all of my creations, a few of which included: Sweet Corn Popsicles, Fudgsicles, Blackberry, Cantaloupe with Raspberry Swirl, Strawberry Shortcake, Peach Swirl with Cookie Surprise....... Don't you wish you lived in my neighborhood?

Not everyone has been thrilled with this new kick that I'm on. There are some in the house that would prefer to have a homemade cookie every day of the week. And others that think a homemade popsicle is good, but baked goods are better, especially if they are chocolate chip cookies. That particular kid was reading as I was whirring the blender one day, working on my next popsicle concoction.

Here's how our conversation went- Him : "How much longer will you be?" Me: "Why? Is this noise bothering you?" Him: "Well, I am trying to read...." Me: "But I'm making popsicles. Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm. Good ones, too. You'll like them." Him: "I know something that is quiet.....making chocolate chip cookies."

Some kids just don't know how lucky they are!

And here is what you do if you have leftover popsicle makings, but no more molds and you are plum out of Dixie Cups.

Here are a few tips I've garnered during my popsicle concocting weeks:

(The popsicles that aren't linked to another website are just my own creations, no real recipes, just a bunch of ingredients and a blender)

- on the sweet corn pops, I use skim milk and add about 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup Smart Balance spread and a little dry buttermilk mix for good measure. I like to cook with what I have, so if I didn't have the buttermilk mix on hand, I wouldn't worry about it.

- don't skimp on the simmering for the fudgsicles or they may taste a little "powdery", or so say my taste testers. Didn't bother me any and powdery or not, they still prefer these to store bought

- anything you use to make a smoothie could be put in a popsicle mold

- on the strawberry shortcake, they look pretty with layers, but are so much easier to just swirl the strawberries into the vanilla mixture

- any popsicles you want to swirl, like my cantaloupe with raspberry swirl, will swirl better in a small dixie cup, rather than a mold, but oh.... I do love my molds.

-try blending various yogurts, fruit and if you like a little crunchy surprise, drop in a few chunks of Golden Oreos.

-I find that my popsicles that have some dairy in them are much less icy than the straight fruit.

If you are a closet made scientist like me, I think you'll find experimenting with popsicles to be tasty fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A conversation and a recipe

I was planning on sharing about my newfound passion for homemade popsicles in today's blog post, but then I heard this conversation:


"Do you like enchiladas?"

"I love enchildadas!"

"Me too! Let's sing a song about enchiladas."

"Enchiladas, enchiladas, how I love enchiladas....."

The funny thing is that there was only one person (a young child who shall remain unnamed) in this conversation. Should I worry or should I just make enchiladas?

I'm going with the enchiladas and here is my favorite enchilada recipe, from Mary at Owlhaven.


Just a few notes:

-this is a double batch, which you can cut in half if you don't want an extra casserole to pop in the freezer

- I often cheat and use canned chicken or leftover chicken from other dinners.

- you're going to wish you had made a double batch after you taste this!

- you can also use your own homemade taco seasoning - the recipe is in Mary's cookbook, but possibly on her blog as well

Sorry, no pictures since I haven't made this yet today. Popsicle post, with pictures, will be coming along soon!

And yes, I know the fonts in the post are all different. Apparently, it's going to take me a while to get my blog groove back. Sorry.