life is beautiful

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday is Special

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fresh Rosettes

Made and shipped:

It's so much fun to think about the beautiful girl they're going to decorate!

Have you been to our store recently to see what's there? :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Treasuring the Creamsicle

The cool flavors of summer drip into fall's necessities...

Fish, Anyone? (4 of 10)

Photo from realsimple.com
To say that I'm NOT an expert at frying food is a gross understatement.  I didn't grow up eating a lot of fried food (thankfully!) so I didn't learn how to properly prepare it, and just about anything I've tried to deep-fry in a skillet has turned out soggy and.... yucky.  Add to that the knowledge of how bad fried food can be for your health, and I'm generally just not interested. Buuuuuuuuut, I saw this recipe and decided to try it next for the food challenge.  (How bad could it really be?)

I assembled my ingredients... and psyched myself up... but when it came to the moment, I couldn't do it!  I just couldn't take our healthy food and throw it into all that FAT!

(~gasp~ Am I finally learning to respect my body?)

So there I was at dinner-preparation time standing in my kitchen, staring at this nice big pile of cleaned sole and it hit me (duh!) that I should oven-bake my fish sticks!

Image from tasteofhome.com
I was able to quickly find this Taste of Home recipe (may I just randomly mention that I really like Taste of Home's favicon?) and truly, they turned out very nice.  The meal didn't wow my socks off, but they weren't objectionable in any way. :)

When you look at the difference in nutrition, the choice is clear:

Fried Sticks: 1 Serving = Calories 552, Fat 27g, Sat Fat 6g, Cholesterol 193mg, Sodium 1,142mg

Baked Sticks: 1 serving = 278 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 129 mg cholesterol, 718 mg sodium


The Husband's review: He liked them a lot, especially that they tasted "light and fresh" as opposed to frozen fish sticks.  He said he'd eat them often, too, but to his credit, he gladly eats anything I cook and doesn't care HOW often it's served! :)

Note: I usually prepare my coleslaw with mayo, a little white sugar and a splash of white or apple cider vinegar, but this time I tried the recipe included with the fried fish, and it turned out quite nice.  The mister wished for more salt on his, but overall it was liked.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On My To-Do List!

One day, I'd love to make something wonderful like this for my little ones.... so they can make me cookies and eggs and all manner of delicious delicacies.... so that I can eat up their giggles all day long. ~love~

See the pom-poms on the "sink curtain?"  LOVE THEM!  I've got them on the brain these days... thinking of combining them with the lamp project somehow?????

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lamp Decision

Right now, I have natural linen curtains against ecru walls and natural linen drum lampshades...... There is color in the furniture, but all that beige is getting to be wayyyy too bland!  So I'm looking at dressing up my lamps.... but I can't decide which direction to go.
Would you please tell me what your vote is from the following??? I really appreciate any advice!

Choice #1:

Ruffles like this anthropologie shade:
This lady did one in burlap, but I was thinking of light blues....
The tutorial looks fairly easy, AND it should be fairly low-cost (especially compared to the cost of an actual anthro anything!).

Choice #2:  Cool geometric design like this shade with either the lines in green (with the blocks the existing natural color) or the lines natural and the blocks light blue:
Photo from the impatientgardener.com

This blogger gives a good tutorial too, but I as much as I like this I am a little afraid this project MIGHT push me over the edge........  But it's SO cool that it might be worth it!

Choice #3: Embroidered or painted design (in green, as shown) on this (yes, another discontinued anthropologie) shade:

Also under consideration is a rosette shade in very light blue, similar to the one on this blog.... but I'd like to see what you think of the first three first.  My lamps are black and I think they'll stay that way for now... I'm going to bravely post a picture of my bland livingroom later this week so you will see them.
Thanks for any advice!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Current Blooms

I wish I'd done this earlier (in the spring), but here's what's blooming at my house right now! These beauties are so.... beautiful. What a marvelous Creator we serve!
These showy pink roses are in the corner

This mini cluster climbing rose is in a bed by our "barn"

This was one of the first blooms in a new bed of perennial wildflowers - does anyone know what it is? :)

Here's another in a different shade. This bed is going to be glorious!

Yellow Gallery Dahlias (12-14" plants)

Purple Gallery Dahlias

Sweet peas that are growing to disguise decorate part of our shed/barn and those great roses.

 As a vegetable-grower, flowers are a brand new arena to me, and thanks to three dear friends who've taken me under their wings, I'm learning a lot!  Besides the fact that I never paid much attention to what flowers like to grow where, etc., Western WA is a drastically different growing "zone" and environment than I've ever worked in (our highest high this week is supposed to be 72 degrees F!).  It's quite the learning curve for me... and I'm quite "proud" of my baby beauties!
So what's growing in your garden?  I'd love to see!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Well would you look at that?!

AH! I LOVE THESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wearable planters! Would you wear them??  They are definitely on my wish list......  (as is almost anything from this store. Go take a look! This one really grabs my attention every time I browse her store too, although these earrings take the cake...)
Both images from etsy shop madebycolleen

Note: "Colleen" didn't pay me to write this.  I am just so astounded by her creativity and the BEAUTY of her creations that I couldn't help myself! 
Plus perhaps my honey-bunny will read this and realize that my excited exclamations and drool and wild gesticulations as I showed him "Colleen's" store were sincere. Hee hee....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday is Special

Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cherry Update

The Cherry Frozen Yogurt turned out FANTASTIC!  It really tasted like a fancy gelato that we've enjoyed in the past.  In fact, it was sooo good that I really have to show you how pretty it is and tell you the changes I made that made it even healthier yet still delish.

Just look at this lovely color:

I followed the recipe linked above, using this very low-tech method of "freezing," with the following alterations (I used what I had!).
  • Instead of 1/4 c. whole milk, I used 2% and an additional healthy splash of Almond Milk.
  • I used nonfat plain yogurt without adding heavy cream
  • I left out the almond flavoring.
Also, to save time and clean-up, I just added the dairy ingredients to my blender full of cherry purée and turned it on for a split second to combine.

If you try this with the full-fat ingredients, or if you use an ice cream maker, I'd love to hear your results.  I may try again with the recommended ingredients just to see the difference, and if it's significant, I'll let you know. 
On these warm days, I can't think of a better way to use your seasonal cherries. YUMMY!

Collected Deliciousness

Hey there, all you caffeinistas: I'm telling you right now - you've gotta make this.  (I couldn't even wait to mix it up and drink half of it before I took this picture! And no, there aren't wildflowers in my glass.  It's just my strange camera angle.  I'm learning!)
I'm a dyed-in-the-wool hot latté girl (we make fresh espresso at home every. single. morning.), HOWEVER.......... Pioneer Woman has done it again and her perfect iced coffee is indeed, perfect. (Her photography is markedly more appetizing too!)

Also, it may be late, but it's definitely finally cherry season up here, so I'm making Cherry Frozen Yogurt (using this method) even as I type, and I just know it's gonna be scrumptious.  Elise has never, ever steered me wrong!

Helloooo, summer!  It's good to be friends with you again. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fish, Anyone? (3 of 10)

 Photo from kraftrecipes.com

This recipe from Kraft Foods is one of my tried and true "company favorites" - you know, the kind of recipe that is perfect for company because
1. It's easy-cheesy to prepare
2. Everyone seems to like it, as long as they aren't anti-fish
3. It's easy-cheesy to clean up, and last but certainly not least,
4. If you have a grill, you can prepare this in the summer without heating up your kitchen!

AND, it's fish! AH-mazing.The name even sounds delicious: Garlic & Lemon Tilapia. Mmmmmmmm....

This is great on the grill as directed, but in the (very rainy, here) spring I've done it in packets in the oven with great results.
I've had great luck using a prepared carrot-broccoli slaw and pre-sliced mushrooms for this, but sometimes I julienne my own carrots and use whatever veggies are here and suitable. Also, my favorite marinade for it is Lawry's garlic & herb.... but please experiment and let me know if you find another wonderful combo. I'd like to try it! :)
Happy fish-cooking!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

  Into your cute popsicle molds (a summer staple, yes?) simply spoon (homemade!) strawberry preserves, then vanilla yogurt, then vanilla yogurt with blue food coloring stirred in.
Insert sticks, freeze overnight and voilà!

A festive dessert perfect for holiday picture snapping.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday is Special

You make known to me the path of life;
   in your presence there is fullness of joy;
   at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Love this style, too!

Another new-to-me (but hardly novice!) designer is Sis Boom, and just look at these gorgeous fabrics!  I would love to get my hands on a copy of her new book - Girl's World..... just take a peek!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fish, Anyone? (2 of 10)

I know I pledged and all, but week two was a D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R.  Remember how I said I don't like fishy fish? Well, I didn't have time to go to my tried-and-true fish place where I buy sole that's wild caught in the USA in week 2.  Thinking that it wouldn't matter that much, I grabbed some pre-packed fish that was farmed in the U.S. from our tiny local grocery store (a friend aptly calls it "Shifty Foods").  I took it home and whipped up these delightful-looking Fish Tacos with Cucumber Relish,

Photo from Real Simple Magazine

and let me just tell you, it was BAD.
It was really terrible.
My husband and son choked them down, but they were so FISHY that I couldn't do it.  The whole experience was so bad that I couldn't even bring myself to THINK about buying fish for several weeks! Ugh!!!!!!
But after I worked up my courage again (AND bought some decent fresh fish!!!!) I tried the recipe again, and the results were much different. Much happier.
So without further ado, my evaluation is:  These were really good.  They were the first fish tacos I've tried to make, and since this is a new genre of food to me, I felt very adventurous. :)  The cucumer relish was delectable - I used baby cukes from Costco and they were scrumptious in all sorts of other recipes too - and so easy.  I see it reappearing in our future quite often.  This was so easy - you've got to get some good fish and try it!
Husbandly evaluation:  "They were yummy." (He's busy right now, so I might add to his commentary later. ;)
Let me know if you try these!