Sometimes really clever ideas come when you least expect it! When visiting my friend Eileen in England this summer I asked if I could help set the table for dinner the first night we were there. She said “sure, the dishes are in that drawer” pointing to a deep drawer under her stove top. IN THE DRAWER?
As I opened the drawer and took the plates out the first thing I noticed is how much easier it is for me to reach into the drawer and pick up the heavier dinner plates than reaching up into the cupboard and wrestling them down, like I do at home. But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading
This blog post has nothing to do with scriptures or food. Yet again, it has everything to do with Scripture and Food for me! Huh?
Two weeks ago I was uploading some recently taken photographs in order to complete my first blog post of the new year. It was during that process I received a message informing me I needed to upgrade my iphoto software. I quickly clicked on the YES button and my computer began to purrrrr away as iphoto updated. It was during that process that something went horribly wrong.
Twelve hours later I am working my way up the Apple chain of command to find the one who can tell me where my 120,000 photos are and how I can get them back?
First question from Apple support — where is your backup?
Silence. [from me]
Repeat. Where is your backup? We will quickly restore the photos.
I use an external hard drive to store my photos. I always meant to add another method and back them up, but I didn’t do it.
I am still working through recovering my photos. But before I recovered even one photo I ordered a 5TB External Hard Drive.
So, how do you backup your photos?
What an expensive lesson I am learning. Not nearly as expensive in dollars $, but very expensive in time. Extremely expensive in patience. Horribly expensive in humility.
If you don’t have a backup for your computer and your photos, take it from me, do it today!
Do you have any bakers on your Christmas list this year? YES? Then this is the perfect time of year to begin a do-it-yourself gift giving Christmas project — Homemade Vanilla Extract!
Last year my cousin Jill shared a recipe with me that she and her sister, my cousin Laura, have made for many years. She said, “once you make your own vanilla you will never want to use any other!” As the Christmas season came fast and furious I ran out of time to share it in time for your gift gifting.
But make vanilla I did! And just as Jill and Laura promised — it is fabulous! NOW is the right time to prepare for this easy and yet fabulous gift for this year.
I ordered these Madagascar beans from Amazon but they are also readily available from many other sources, including my cousin Jill’s favorite place, Penzy’s Spices.
Because I am an overachiever, I started out with 64 ounces of white rum. I left a good amount of it in the larger container but poured some off into a couple of glass pints. (See recipe below.) Once a week I shook each container replacing it in a cool, dark place.
After about 6 weeks I was ready to taste-test my first batch of vanilla. The fragrance is strong and lovely. I particularly like the little specks of vanilla bean that stay in the vanilla. (You can strain it if you prefer.)
I ordered 4 ounce brown glass bottles from Amazon but I am sure you can use any favorite bottle, clear glass or brown glass. I have also seen really cute bottles at Hobby Lobby.
When I filled the bottles I added a few of the vanilla pieces. They will keep giving the vanilla flavor and add a few vanilla bean specks to your baking as well.
I have used vanilla from this little bottle all year-long and have refilled it a time or two already!
Once you have made homemade vanilla extract you will never want to use anything else! NOTE: It is helpful to wear disposable gloves when handling the vanilla beans as they can stain your fingers.
3 to 5 vanilla beans
8 ounces alcohol such as vodka, bourbon, brandy, or rum
1 teaspoon white sugar
Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces, depending on the size of the bottles you will use.
Place the vanilla beans in a jar and cover with alcohol making sure they are completely submerged. Add sugar (optional).
Infuse for at least 1 month. Shake the bottle and place in a cool, dark spot, shaking once or twice a week.
After a month taste the extract and let it infuse longer if you want a stronger flavor.
When extract is ready you may wish to remove the vanilla pods and decant the vanilla.
Divide into smaller bottles. Vanilla beans can be removed or one or two pieces can be left in each bottle.
Vanilla can be made from white rum, vodka, bourbon, or brandy -- I used white rum and have been very happy with the flavoring. Madagascar beans are my favorite, but Mexican beans or other varieties can be used, depending on the flavor you prefer. *The sugar is optional.
Once upon a time this little girl Alice (on the right) starting stealing …
hearts that is. Here she is posing with her older sister Mary.
Little Alice with Esther and Arthur Rufer whose heart she stole when she was quite young. With no children of their own they loved taking Alice to the circus and special outings.
And then little Alice grew up into this sexy student nurse!
Continuing her life of crime she met this man while she was taking care of his mother in the hospital. While I don’t know the exact details of how she did it, legend has it she stole his heart right out from under his mother’s nose!
It wasn’t long until Alice continued her life of stealing … hearts, that is. One after another she provided for men, woman, and children that never forgot how much she cared for them. More hearts …
And then she stole this little boy’s heart and he stole hers. Her first little boy named Steven.
Nurse Alice … and a little boy she lovingly took care of in the hospital!
Enter the arrival of baby Catherine. (Yes, that’s me.) I wasn’t very old when folks would pat my head, tell me how much they loved my mother and what a great nurse she is. To this very day I hear from those whose life she has touched.
Adding sons, Michael and John she continues to collect hearts. She is loved by so many!
And she and I have been best friends forever! Even my teen years were spent wrapped in times like this one!
Her first new car — accommodates all the kids but still … its fiery red! oo-la-la!
As I sift through decades of pictures one picture keeps returning time and time again. That picture is the one that shows how much my mother is loved. By her family, her extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, her children’s friends and every single person who had the honor of my mother taking care of them. From the doctor’s office to the hospital, surgical suites and labor and delivery, she has touched so many. Good Samaritan nursing home was blessed when she was their Director of Nursing.
Fast forward through the years and you will see she is still surrounded by those who love her including this group of Community Bible Study leaders and teachers!
Mother’s Day 2014. She is 83 years young and make no mistake … she is still stealing hearts to this day. Beware, the next one might be yours. 🙂
I love you mom,
Happy Mother’s Day, Catherine
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”