Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday morning...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

kimchi...I'm thinking it's one of those things you either love..or hate.

This recipe looks good, too.
(This is not my photo)

My coworker made kimchi and brought some in to share with me. She made it with cucumbers as opposed to cabbage and it is g-o-o-o-d. She also makes it with cabbage and it is g-o-o-o-d, too.

Then later that day I was catching up on a favorite blog...and the blogger shared a link to a blog she'd recently come I clicked over to the other blog...and he'd made kimchi. And it had been a long while since I visited this blog...and would you believe it, it's on the day that she makes kimchi? (Did you follow that?)

I've been wanting to make kimchi for a long time. It was on my summer to-do of a list of things that did not get done, by the way. I took a fermentation class a few summer's ago and we made kombucha and kimchi. I was so excited to be taking the class and to be learning things I'd wanted to learn for so long. When the class was over I headed home with my baby skoby (for the kombucha) and a small jar of kimchi. We were instructed to let it sit on the counter for however many days and then it would be ready.

Unfortunately, over the course of a few days my kimchi turned a weird color...a sort of yellowy tan color, it looked somewhat jaundiced. I didn't feel good about it so I threw it away.

And that was the extent of my fermentation experience. I guess I got a little nervous about it...and probably discouraged. (And then I ended up getting a job so any fantasy of a simple, DIY life went down the drain.)

But anyway....I love kimchi. I have since I was a little girl. When I would stay with Noni and Papa for a week or two during the summer Noni would buy a jar of it and we'd sit and eat it together, the spicier the better. Mom would buy it now and again, too...I loved it.

I went to the Asian market a few weeks ago to buy a jar of gochujang. I had looked up a recipe for kimchi and this particular recipe called for it. But once I got to the store, and saw all of the different choices of kimchi paste and kimchi mix and gochujang, I got overwhelmed and instead, headed to the refrigerator section and bought a jar of prepared kimchi (the same brand Noni used to buy) and headed home. Done. No muss, no fuss.

Yes, while buying a jar of kimchi is much easier, I still can't help but want to make my own. There's just something about making it myself...I just gotta do it one of these days. Not to mention, not only does it taste good, but it is also good for you. Because it is fermented it has all sorts of health benefits.

How about you? Do you love kimchi? Or do you hate it?

Friday, August 29, 2014

slowly getting my mojo back...

I cooked dinner twice this week. Barbecued chicken and fried rice on Monday and BLT's with broccoli salad Wednesday. Tuesday we had leftovers. Last night? Tostadas. It's not gourmet. But it's better than nothing.

I think I am finally adjusting to my work schedule. Just like my friend said it would, it took about three weeks to adjust. I am less tired when I get home and more motivated to put some food on the table. Not to mention, the weather isn't sweltering hot lately...which makes cooking more fathomable.

We've got a three day weekend coming up...that'll be nice. Maybe I can really get motivated and make a menu plan, and prep some meals for the coming week.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

she gave a girl some figs.

My friend and coworker brought this girl some figs last week. I brought them home and let them sit almost too long before eating them. But when I cut them open and ate them...they were delicious. Perfectly ripe and sweet. And so, so good.

Would you believe I'd never even tried a fig until I was about 25? I lived in this little ramshackle apartment out in the country. It was funky, but I loved it. Noni came out to my place one day and looked at this ugly tree in my front yard and said, "You have a fig tree? I love figs!"

I didn't even know what a fig was, let alone what a fig tree looked like. But there it was, a gnarled fig tree right next to my parking spot. Noni made me promise to let her know when the figs began turning purple.

A few months later the figs began to turn purple so I picked a bunch, took a drive to Noni's and she enlightened me to the goodness of the fig. From that moment on...I loved them, too.

If you've never eaten a fig and you think you want to give it a try just make sure that the figs are very ripe, almost too ripe. And you can eat the skin, or not. I do not. Not that I wouldn't. I guess I don't because Noni didn't.

We went to a bible study one night years ago and the hostess made figs stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. Oh my...are you kidding me? They were amazing.

My coworker brought more figs in to work yesterday and I shamelessly grabbed (more than) my share. They are ripening on my kitchen island as we speak. Not everyone at work was excited about the figs...most of them went for the tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers that she brought instead of the figs. Apparently, figs are one of those things you either love or you don't.

I happen to love them...yes, because they taste delicious, but also because they make me think of Noni.

Oh, and I found some recipes on Pinterest that look awfully good...

Fig jam.
Fig jam on a sandwich with bacon and brie? Yes please.
And who doesn't like a fig newton?
How about this wedding cake just because it is beautiful (scroll down).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Saturday, August 23, 2014

we grew grapes!

A few years ago we made a few improvements to our backyard, one of which was planting grapes along the newly built garden fence. We kind of planted them on a whim...we wanted edibles, we wanted something to grow on the fence, grapes seemed like a good choice.

Never mind the fact that neither of us knew one single thing about growing grapes. But we knew how to dig holes and water we figured nature would handle the rest.

The first year we got maybe three wimpy clusters of teensy tiny grapes that didn't really mature. I don't even remember if we ate them? But this year...oh my...we got clusters and clusters of ripe, juicy, sweet, yummy grapes. They were so good. They weren't big like at the grocery store. But the flavor was much better.

And really, isn't the flavor better with everything homegrown? Yeah...I think so, too.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


coffee with my friend.

I am blessed with some really great friendships. Old friends. New friends. Friends that are also family.

I have friends that I speak to almost daily. And friends that I can see once every two years and it seems as if we've spoken daily as we don't miss a beat.

I have friends that have known me since I first discovered shimmery light blue eyeliner. And friends that can't imagine I ever would have chosen to wear it! (Hey. I was 14. What do you expect? Besides, it was a good compliment to my Bonne Bell lip smacker.)

I have friends that "knew me when". And friends whose jaws drop hearing stories about "when". (And a few of them even overlap.)

I have friends that I met at school, church, work, through a friend and through the internet.

I have friends that I can be myself with...completely. And there is no judgment. Maybe a few winces or weird looks now and then. But no judgment. And I am grateful for that.

I count my blessings daily when I think about the people that I am surrounded by. I count my blessings that at any given time I can call on any of them and I know that they will be there for me. And I, them. In a heartbeat.

Friendship takes work...and time...and the willingness to be vulnerable, and real.

I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life that I call friend...without them I'd be lost.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

This isn't always easy. 

So many times I want to take matters into my own hands, 
forgetting that God's hands are bigger and stronger and more 
capable than mine ever will be.

Some days I forget to lean into Him. 
I forget to ask Him what He thinks. 

And it's usually those days that I am 
stressed or anxious or on edge. 

Reminding myself today that God is trustworthy. 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are 
steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

praying mantis in the garden.

I went out to our neglected garden on Saturday afternoon just to take a look around, see if there was any food to harvest, make future plans to clean up and make room for winter vegetables...ya know, garden stuff. I made my way over to the sunflowers and began snapping iPhotos when I saw movement...and it was this guy...a huge praying mantis. He was a bit camera shy, doing his best to avoid getting his photo taken. But I was able to sneak a few.

At one point he just stopped, cocked his head sideways, and looked straight at me like, "Really? Can't you see I do not want my photo taken?"

I just stared back, hoping he wasn't gonna jump on me, ya know, to drive his point home. (I like them, but I don't want them ON me.)

Each year I get so excited at the sight of the first praying mantis in our yard. We have them every year it seems. Little praying mantis babies, lots of them. One year I first started seeing them on the trunk of the pecan tree. This year they were in the grapes. As the summer goes on we see fewer and fewer of them, but every now and then get a glimpse of one or two that made it to adulthood. And a few weeks ago we got a glimpse of a shed exoskeleton.

One year when the boys were little Chris found a praying mantis egg on an old fence board. We put it in a jar with no lid, set it on the porch rail and checked it every day. One afternoon we came home from errands to find hundreds of the tiniest, cutest, little praying mantis forming a chain out of themselves to get out of the jar. For weeks many of them lived in the Japanese maple next to our porch. That was a cool experience.

(So just out of curiosity I decided to go see if he was still hanging out on the sunflowers...and he was! I didn't bother him this time, though, don't want to scare him off. I refer to it as a "he" but I don't know how to tell if it's male or female. If you know how, please do tell.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

the neglected garden.

I'm sad to say, our garden was a bit of a bust this year. We planted tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, peppers, onions, cucumbers, sunflowers and nasturtiums. Pretty good lineup, right?

The tomatoes have been a let down...three out of six plants are still producing, but barely. Two plants (the heirlooms, it's always the heirlooms) produced a handful of tomatoes then shut down production. And I don't know why. Maybe it was the gargantuan tomato worms that were having an all-you-can-eat buffet before I could catch them and turn them into chicken food? Or maybe it was just a bad season. Either way, I got two Black Krim and three Green Zebra tomatoes this summer. Our Early Girl and Better Boy and, of course, the Sweet 100 are still producing, albeit begrudgingly. I'll take what I can get.

Zucchini never disappoints. The plants were big and lush and healthy...we harvested lots of yummy zucchini...I have no complaints. I think zucchini is an ego almost can't go wrong when growing zucchini. Soil, sun, water. Bam. More zucchini than you know what to do with.

The green beans produced quite a few plump, tasty green beans but soon became infested with white flies. And I didn't do anything about the white flies so they spread to the zucchini plants. But only on the side near the green beans. The other side still looks quite healthy...and they're still producing zucchini, although I think it's time to pull the plants and make room for something to grow in winter. (Still undecided on that.)

Our peppers sucked this season. Period. I think we harvested a dozen jalapenos from TWO PLANTS. And our New Mexico peppers haven't done squat. (I'm not bitter.)

The onions didn't do diddly either. I don't know why. We planted onions a couple of years ago and were pleasantly surprised. We stuck them in the ground without much care, treating them as an experiment, really...and lo and behold they did great! As a matter of fact, I'd wished I'd planted more. So this year we decided to try them again since they were so "easy and carefree". Uhh, right. They didn't do a dang thing. The greens never perked up. I don't even think the onions grew. It could be the location? Not enough sun, maybe? Or...the soil? But we amended it a I wouldn't think that was the problem. I don't know. All I do know is that we harvested zero onions.

We planted two cucumber plants. And we harvested two cucumbers. Two. All summer. That's it.

The sunflowers did well...and they're a beautiful addition to the garden and make me smile whenever I see them. So I will count those a success. Because if I don't, I may never garden again.

And the nasturtiums? Meh. I plant them every year because they're good for the soil, they attract pollinators, and they add color and fun to the garden. Not to mention, they make me happy. But this year they didn't come through. I think maybe three or four plants came up (and I planted a lot of seeds!) and we got maybe 5 blooms. Really? Boo.

So there you have it. This year's sad garden tale. And because it's been a let down, it's not getting a lot of love lately. Quite frankly, it's pretty much neglected. Part of that is disappointment in its performance. And part of that is being back at work. I just don't have the time that I do over the summer.

But even still, come next spring, we will prepare to plant a garden. I will read seed catalogs and plan space and layout and bring Chris refreshing iced tea as he tills and amends the soil. We will go to the garden center and buy seedlings, probably too many, because we will be excited and get carried away. We will place it all in the ground with loving care and high hopes. And hopefully, I will have a happier tale to tell next summer.

Sunday morning...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

the weekend is here...

The weekend is here...and I am grateful.

I still haven't gotten a grip on meal prep, meal planning, meal anything! I did brown three pounds of hamburger last weekend. And I did add it to burritos one night. But that was as far as I got. (It will be turned into spaghetti sauce and a tray of enchiladas today to warm up during the week.)

I also made spicy noodles, and they were OK, but not great. They looked better than they tasted, so the leftovers didn't get eaten. (Although, now that I think about it, I could have turned them into a chow mein type of thing. Dangit. I didn't even think of that.) 

On a sad and serious note, our community lost another young man last week in a car accident. My boys knew him. My husband coached him in Little League. It happened two days before he was to start his junior year of high school. Each morning when I wake up I say a prayer for his mom and dad...knowing that they will wake up each day to the realization that they're son is gone. My heart breaks for them...

Life may be challenging, and work may be busy, and the car may need a repair...but that is all nothing when compared to the loss of a child. I am blessed. I have nothing to complain about. I need to remind myself of this when I feel a complaint rising up...keep things in perspective.

I'll be sticking close to home this weekend...tidying, washing, cooking, prepping, being quiet. My hubby washed all the floors yesterday while I was at cross that off of MY list of to-do's. (Thank you, honey.) 

How about you? What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rest in peace.

I am so sad about Robin Williams' death. 
I am so sad that he saw no other way through. 

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Monday, August 11, 2014

working full-time and the lonely kitchen.

Quick and easy pizza breads...add a salad or
some fresh fruit and voila...dinner is served!
Last week was my first full week of working full-time. And I gotta tell kicked my behind!

Part of it is getting used to working so much after having the summer off. But most of it is that it's just plain crazy these first couple of weeks preparing for the students and teachers to arrive. I was so busy last week I wasn't even aware of the time...I'd look up from my work and see that it was time to go home! And by the time I got home I was toast. Think Goldie Hawn in know the scene where she is just mumbling, in a shocked daze, staring off into space, "Buh buh buh buh buh buh...". Yes. That was me. Or at least that's how I felt!

Needless to say, I didn't cook much last week. Honestly, I think I "cooked" once, if you count heating frozen burritos in the microwave then making them look fancy and appealing by melting cheese on top and adding a dollop of sour cream and salsa. Good thing my husband isn't picky.

I mean, we're not starving by any means. But we cannot live on frozen burritos alone...or fast food...or cold cereal. So I've got to figure out some quick, healthy, tasty, easy dinners to make on weeknights. I have been perusing Pinterest (of course) and have found some good ideas. I also put a shout out on Facebook to my friends, asking that they share their own quick and easy ideas. And they have...thank goodness.

Over the next few days I'm going to be gathering meal ideas and thinking of menu plans that I can prep or cook in advance then assemble quickly during the week. I need them to be quick and easy so I don't have any excuses as to why I can't prepare meals on weeknights. I'll let you know what I come up with.

And I am all ears if you'd like to share some of your quick and easy meal ideas...hint, hint.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

gratitude journal {day seven}

My Papa made this birdhouse. 
I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to keep a 7-day gratitude journal...list 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I decided to do it here on the is the final day.

  •'s my favorite time of day.
  • peace of mind...I didn't always have it, so now that I do, I am grateful for it.
  • believe in God is one know Jesus, and to accept Him as our personal Savior is another. It's the difference between knowing about God vs. knowing God Himself. It's not about religion or rules but about a relationship with God that makes life  make more sense.
So there ya seven of my gratitude journal. I did it, I enjoyed it, it made me think, it made me focus on the positive rather than dwelling on the negative. 

Sunday morning...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

gratitude journal {day six}

I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to keep a 7-day gratitude journal...list 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I decided to do it here on the blog.... 

  • that I'm working full-time I have a greater appreciation for the almighty weekend, especially Saturday mornings....slow, quiet, easy. I feel like I can finally exhale.
  • my extended family, whether by blood, or by know who you are...I have an amazing family, I am surrounded by loving, funny, caring, smart, generous, friendly, selfless, witty, talented, adventurous, wise, fun people. And for that I am very grateful.
  • friends...I have really good friends. True friends that I can call on anytime...whether I just want to hang with them for a quick cup of coffee, or if I need to cry on their shoulder or them on mine, or if I need prayer. I can make a phone call and know that I am not alone. Old friends, new friends, forever friends...I've got them and I love them. What a blessing.
I'm enjoying these gratitude journals....I may just keep this up. xo

Friday, August 8, 2014

gratitude journal {day five}

I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to keep a 7-day gratitude journal...list 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I decided to do it here on the blog.... 

  • my job...I like what I do, I love who I work with, I enjoy being with the kids, it provides us with benefits...I'm definitely blessed.
  • the mild's still hot, but nothing like it has been and nothing like it could be.
  • good health...I have the usual aches and pains, but for the most part I'm healthy, as is my family, I'm grateful for that.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

gratitude journal {day four}

I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to keep a 7-day gratitude journal...list 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I decided to do it here on the blog.... 

  • hot is a privilege, not a right...and I am so thankful for it each time I take a shower or wash the dishes.
  • my grandparents...I had really, really great grandparents. I miss them all so much.
  • our ceiling fans...they keep the air moving and cool...which is such a blessing for this "woman of a certain age"...if ya know what I mean ;)
Feel free to join in...on your blog, in the comments, in a private journal...however you choose to do it...what are you grateful for? 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

gratitude journal {day three}

I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to keep a 7-day gratitude journal...list 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I decided to do it here on the blog....  

  • our keeps us safe, warm, cool, dry,'s small, but it's home.
  • God...I honestly don't know where I'd be had He not plucked me out of that dark pit 12 years or so ago. 
  • my parent's...they are so good to us...always there for to be around...I love them. They're the best...

Wednesday in the Word

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

gratitude journal {day two}

I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to keep a 7-day gratitude journal...list 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I decided to do it here on the blog....  

  • my sons...I love them more than words can express; they bless me, make me laugh and make me proud every single day.
  • my husband...he is loving, patient, funny, handsome, hard-working and tolerates me daily. I love him. Always have, always will.
  • a good night's rest...I slept through the night, which is a rarity for me.
  • (If I could list coffee every single day and not feel like I was cheating, I totally would.)

    Monday, August 4, 2014

    gratitude journal {day one}

    I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to keep a 7-day gratitude journal...list 3 things a day that I am grateful for. I decided to do it here on the blog...
    • our garden...and the ability to grow organic, fresh food in our own backyard.
    • coffee...this morning especially as I didn't get as much sleep as I need!
    • cool mornings...they are a nice reprieve from the heat lately.

    Sunday, August 3, 2014

    August...and business as usual.

    July is gone...and suddenly we're four days into August already.

    My vacation is over but summer is not...the heat is relentless. I was thinking for a minute, "How nice...our summer has been pretty mild." I spoke too soon. (Although today is supposed to be a bit a mere 90'F rather than over 100'F. Hey, I'll take what I can get!)

    Three out of six of our tomato plants are producing. Two of the plants that stopped producing were being eaten alive by those disgusting tomato worms...I found three and Chris found one. They are now, all four, chicken manure. Maybe the plants can now heal a little and give us a few more tomatoes before the season ends.

    My poor green beans got demolished by teensy, fluttery, white flies...and they are now spreading to the zucchini plants. We'll harvest a few more zucchini then pluck it all out of the ground and prepare the soil for some winter vegetables. Not sure what yet...kale probably, maybe chard.

    I went back to work on Friday. It was nice to see everyone again. And nice to meet our new peeps. My desk was piled with to-do's...and still is as I didn't really even get to any of it yet. I was busy answering phones and clearing out emails and preparing letters to go out and eating donuts. I thought starting on a Friday was going to be weird...but it was kind of good in that now I know what's waiting for me and can formulate a bit of a game plan for this coming week. Wish me job rarely cooperates with my "game plans" we shall see.

    The boys are settled in...Ian here at home and Seth in his new place. Seth spent his birthday in SLO. He worked during the day and had tentative plans for the evening. We had a pizza and dessert delivered to him since we couldn't be there for the usual "family birthday dinner". It was kind of a bummer to not be able to be together...but he did enjoy the surprise dinner delivery. I am guessing this might be more and more the norm as the boys get older... Trying to be OK with that...

    I'm realizing this post is a bit melancholy...I feel like I'm sort of droning on and on...kind of mumbling and sighing as I recount the goings on around here. And really, I do feel that way a bit.

    On that note, I was challenged by a friend on Facebook to do a 7-day gratitude journal...list three things a day that I am grateful for. I have decided to do it here on the blog as it will make its way to Facebook, anyway. Maybe that'll perk me up a little...focus on the positive, the blessings.

    As for today? I'm going to finish watching the Giants game and enjoy the cool breeze that's coming through the windows this morning while it lasts...such a pleasant surprise.

    Sunday morning...

    creator of this image unknown