DANDELION DAYS

TL 5-6 DANDELION DAYS

Here’s a link for you to look at if you’d like to know more about this event.

http://www.dandelionday.org/

My favorite color is yellow – I suppose because it makes me feel happy.  In our neck of the woods, the puffy little yellow flowers are called weeds, but this event celebrates and protects dandelions!  I hope you’ll take a look at the link because it looks like they are gearing up for some serious fun.

I just finished designing a cute poem by Lucinda.  It’s about…  you guessed it – DANDELIONS!  I have to share it today.PUFFY GOLDEN FLOWERSHow much do you know about dandelions?  Well, beginning with the bad news, 30% of America’s water supply is spent watering lawns in an effort to keep non-native grasses green and weed free.  Pesticides are applied to kill off dandelions and other weeds as well.  Dandelions are common weeds that can harm your lawn’s growth by establishing deep roots in the soil.

Now it’s time to hear the good qualities:  The dandelion flower opens when the sun comes up and closes when the sun goes down.  Some folks eat dandelion salads!  They are also used for medicine and even dye for clothing.  Before the 1800’s people actually pulled the grass from their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful weeds like chickwee, chamomile and malva.  Most people cannot name the weeds in their yard, but almost everyone knows a dandelion by sight.  Why are these puffy golden flowers called dandelions?  It’s taken from the French word “dent de lion” which means lions tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves.horse-108441_1920

Dandelions are God’s happy yellow spots dotted across pasture land.dandelion-735814_1920

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The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging,

As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,

Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass–innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,

The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful face.

Source: “Leaves of Grass,” by Walt Whitman

Isn’t the simplicity of spring a blessing?  I think the most precious thing to see is a child walking toward me carrying a wicker basket filled with dandelions.  Let’s make memories we can cherish our whole lives.  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35friday-706915_1280Since today is Friday, I thought it would be fun to show you some FRIDAY FACES.  If you have to ask what a Friday Face is, then you obviously have not had to endure a job you hated for a long time.  A Friday Face is that look of pure joy that washes over you when you realize that you have finally completed a week and will have two days all to yourself to do what you really enjoy doing. 

There are many weekend warriors out there – I have been in the ranks in my life.  For the most part I enjoyed my work, but there were a couple of jobs that I didn’t think I’d survive – yet with God’s help, I did.BEAUTIFYING WITH THE TEENAGER

Happiness really is an inside job!  We have choices to enjoy the ones we live with or spend time fussing with them.  I choose to enjoy my loved ones because life is just way too short (so am I, but we’ll save that subject for another post).

Here’s my FRIDAY FACE!  WHAT CAN MAN DO TO MEHere’s my FRIDAY FACE!  Bring on the weekend…  I’m sleepin’ in!BE AT REST ONCE MORELOL…  a different Friday in a different year.  🙂  Spa days are so much fun!!!

girl-453096_1920She’s just a little ready for the weekend…  I’d say so!chipmunk-pig-1182230_1920I can dig the pig in the tote…  say that five times fast… LOL!!!

feet-767045_1920During the week he wears shined shoes with an expensive suit and tie.  This weekend he will put on hiking boots and work off some stress on a familiar trail that seems to be calling his name.  This is the man he really is, not the stuffed shirt people see during the week.  By Monday he will be ready to do what they pay him to do, but he won’t think about that until Sunday night.  He’s a good man and does what he has to do to take care of his family – but he dreams of a time in life when he can live in the hiking boots and walk the trail anytime he wants to seek adventure outdoors.girl-102829_1920

She works in a flower shop all week inside a local grocery store.  Every Friday she puts a freshly cut flower in her hair, thanks God for seeing her through yet again and leaves the store with a big grin on her face, knowing that she has the weekend to recharge her batteries so she can get up on Monday morning and do it all over again.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6

Yes I know there are so many things on your mind right now.  The election and other assorted divisive issues have all of us feeling a burden like never before.  But for today – just for this one Friday…  I want to let it go – give it all to GOD – and bask in the blessings from God – on this day and in this weekend.

If you want to be happy, be.  – Leo Tolstoy

Marian’s photo reminded me that we need to take moments with our family members – and laugh – and take selfies to post on facebook!  YES!!!

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  – Isaiah 55:9

God gave us these marvelous people to weather life’s storms with – and it’s not that we are in denial of what is happening around us, but rather it is an awakening of sorts, a realization that our family and friends – they are our blessings…  God’s wonderful gift to us.  Have a blessed and happy Friday!  Enjoy the weekend!  🙂

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 18-24 IS NATIONAL FARM-CITY WEEK

TL 11-18 THRU 24 IS NATIONAL FARM-CITY WEEK

Kansas is rich in agricultural traditions.  As you drive along our state’s highways you can’t help but notice the lovely quilt of farmland with the occasional horse, herds of cattle or sheep, and of course the state flower, the sunflower.

The farmers of Kansas provide food and other resources for the rest of the country.  It’s a proud heritage to be a farmer, but it certainly won’t make you rich.  Maybe it does make you rich, it’s just not from monetary gain.  There is a rich satisfaction in farming… knowing that you’ve done a good day’s work for your fellow-man is worth more than money.

You know when I think of a Kansas farm, I think of the Peterson Farm.  Those guys are crazy…  yep – they’re Kansans alright!

https://youtu.be/hSp9mGcaESc

When I think of Thanksgiving, it’s natural to think of harvest.  I can’t imagine living in a big city where harvest is just a concept and not a reality.  Something about having harvest as a way of life just makes me more thankful than I would be otherwise.

A WORKING FARM

It’s a silly memory, I know…  but I remember taking field trips to my 5th grade teacher’s farm around this time of year.  Maybe it had to do with this holiday – who knows?

It’s important for children to be exposed to farm life once in a while.  They need to know that they’re milk comes from a cow and eggs come from chickens.  Some of those city kids might decide they want to move to a farm one day and enjoy a slower, more structured, simple life.

The only downside to farming is the butchering of livestock.  I know some don’t have a problem with it, but I’m just a bit of a squeamish soul, I suppose.  I thought it would be fun to have a herd of sheep and sell wool.  There is a new kind of farm emerging on the horizon that sounds interesting – Alpaca farms!  Alpaca fleece is softer than cashmere and is in demand.  As an alpaca farmer you can raise the animals and not have to butcher them – just shear them.  I think I could handle that!

FARM COMFORT

One more video from the Peterson farm.  https://youtu.be/toyN81wZzLw

I hope sometime this week you will take a city kid to visit a working farm – maybe even the Peterson farm!   The only way we can encourage kids to appreciate the food they eat is to show them where it comes from – and all the work involved in making it happen.  Have a great week!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

9-22 FOR THE WATCHFUL EYE

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many…. September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes

I’ve shared a bit of the fun we have in late summer/early fall here in Kansas!  Our menus change from salads to stews!  Every woman in Kansas is reviewing their recipe cards and stocking up on slow cooker liners.  I’ve found a few coupons for those liners (they are expensive, let’s admit it).  The most important small appliance in my kitchen is my crock pot.  I use it quite often because it’s so simple to dump and cook.  That’s my style – dump and cook!  🙂

I was inspired by our trip to Louisburg, KS for the apple festival on September 10th to search for recipes that use apples.  We brought home a couple of jars of their wonderful sugar-free apple butter, but in my search today, look what I found!

CROCK POT APPLE BUTTER

Approximately 3 lb. apples ( make sure 1/2 are Granny Smith )
Gala , Fugi, Or Granny Smith
3 cups sugar (I will definitely use Splenda)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Dash of salt
3/4 cup water or fresh apple cider

Fill Crock-pot 3/4 full with peeled, cored and sliced apples. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. Cover and cook on low setting overnight or until the butter is of a thick, spreadable consistency.

If apple butter has too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Stir often as butter thickens to prevent scorching.

Mash Apple Butter until chunky or smooth with hand-held masher or blender
Store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.
Put in jars with water bath processing also.

Found on Pinterest and Holly’s kitchen

I found a video tour from 2014:

https://youtu.be/khCFDem01YQ

I don’t think I’ve shared my photos from Louisburg with y’all.  If I have, just humor me and look at them again.  😉

APPLES-screenshot

top left:  I wish you could have heard that sign squeaking as it blew back and forth.  Squeak…  squeak…  sounds so much like autumn to me!

top right:  The business of this business is apple cider!  This is the barn where all the apple cider is made.  You can’t tell from this photo, but behind the barn there are apples floating around in water – they go up a conveyor belt and through all the different processes from there.  I wish you could have smelled the APPLE scent inside that barn – it’s better than any scentsy wax melt I’ve ever used!

bottom left:  Their own label of sparkling apple cider!  Ah – it is amazing!

bottom right:  Yep – it’s an apple cider donut!  Hey – I’m not gonna drive all those miles and not have one little apple cider donut.  That was lunch – and mmm…  it was yummilicious!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)

It really is the little things that bring happy sparkles into your life!  Laughing is at the top of my list, but there are certain events that come to mind – and won’t likely be leaving my mind anytime soon.  I hope I can hang on to all the happy sparkles and think on the positive aspects in every circumstance.

Click image to enlarge

If we can re-live these little moments when the going gets tough, it not only brings a smile to our face, but it puts a little more courage and self-confidence in us.  These are moments when we were successful and happy and ready to high-five everybody!

  • One morning I tried for the umpteenth time to flip an egg over without breaking the yoke.  In 54 years of life I have never flipped an egg over without the yoke breaking, but guess what?  I carefully scooped the egg up with the spatula and flipped it over – and it was intact!!!  That was the best egg sammich ever!
  • Writing is my passion and music is my life.  Imagine my surprise when I was asked to write about music and got paid for it!  It’s not even about the money, but it’s about the words I write being read and appreciated.  There’s no better feeling to be sure.  Everyone wants to be appreciated.
  •  A friend recently asked if she could come to my house and listen to me play the piano.  I asked how long she had exhibited signs of instability – and she laughed and told me she was serious.  What a boost it was to know that she enjoyed hearing me play.  It gave me more confidence in the face of uncertainty.

Happy sparkles are gifts that God gives us.  He delivers them to us in many ways, through others or even when we’re alone with Him.  When we count our blessings and remember the happy sparkles along the way, we become the joyful Christian that Jesus wants us to be!

AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

TL AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

SIMPLIFY – To make simple or simpler: as a :  to reduce to basic essentials 

b :  to diminish in scope or complexity :  streamline <was urged to simplify management procedures>

c :  to make more intelligible :  clarify

A SIMPLE LIFE

It seems to me that it should be simple to simplify, ya know???  No matter how much effort we put into trying to simplify, it seems we work twice as hard to make it happen.  Now, does that make any sense to anyone?  No, I didn’t think so.  :-/
Well, here’s my take on simplicity.  I honestly believe that it begins within.  How high-maintenance are you, and what would you be willing to live without?  I’ve had many friends through the years and have traveled with a few.  I never let them know I was doing this, but I was secretly observing the luggage they carried.  You see, the things we travel with are the things we are not willing to part with.
The more stuff you are willing to live without, the more simple your life will be.  If you truly desire simplicity in your life, it’s necessary to let go of some non-essentials.  I know they seem like essentials right now, but stay with me.  This may make you re-think things.
For example, do you need a ton of makeup when you travel?  I’m not suggesting you go without makeup altogether (oh, heaven forbid) – but there are ways to travel with less.  I take one container of mineral make-up, a tube of mascara, a shadow, brow pencil and lip gloss.  Choose one color of lip gloss and plan your wardrobe around that theme color.  I usually choose red in the fall/winter months or dark pink in the spring/summer months.
I believe simplicity begins with the discarding of extras.  It’s about organization and pre-planning.  To make life easier, surround yourself with less.  It sounds like you would be denying yourself of things, but it is the most freeing experience to rid yourself of clutter and get organized.
Recently I went through my closet and took out pieces that I have not worn in the past year – for whatever reason.  If you have not worn a piece of clothing in the past year, you probably don’t need to keep it.
In the kitchen, organize with cook ahead cookbooks, or go online to find some great recipes.  Here are 20 of my favorites!  http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/quick-easy/make-ahead-meals-0
If you cook on the weekend and freeze each serving, that frees up the weeknight to relax and enjoy your family.  Simple.
Teach kids to pitch in and help with things like laundry.  Even boys will need to know how to do that at some point when they get older, so you’d may as well get them involved now.  They will feel like they are helping out and it will take some of the load off you…  get it – load – laundry?  Never mind.
 When you make a conscious decision to make do with less, that is when simplicity will become a reality.  When you organize things a bit and enlist help from the rest of the family, it will pay off in the long run.
Give it a try…  and bask in simplicity!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (29)A

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”  – Jeremiah 17:7-8

10003889_10204042924344375_1714801374506335330_n
Karley holding her mammoth cabbage… wow!!!

 

That’s a lot of coleslaw…

I have the most COOL facebook friends!!!  Can you believe the size of this cabbage???  She posted this photo the other day and of course it got me to thinking about how much BIGGER our blessings are when we belong to God.

Bigger blessings???  You bet!  God has blessed His own in a big way since the beginning of time.

Have you ever heard the saying…  I’m too blessed to be stressed – ???  It’s true!  When we focus on all of the many blessings from the LORD, we just spend time loving our family and friends – instead of thinking about the things we lack.  With God in our corner, we lack nothing.  We have what we need because we know He provides for our every need.

You know, if there is something you think you need and God has not brought it your way (like, say…  a million dollars) – it’s because He knows it’s not what you need.  How many times do we hear about folks who win the lottery and have nothing but grief after they get all that money?  I’ve heard story after story about tragedy that stems from having too much money and being used – or some even lose their life over it.  God wants the very best for us – we have to trust His wisdom for our lives.

Money doesn’t solve every problem – it really doesn’t.

 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.  – Psalm 29:11

Bigger blessings from God – of strength and peace.  Strength to face our daily trials and peace as we keep living.  🙂