Happy Easter

After service tomorrow we’re going to a relative’s home and bringing a mini kitchen of cooked food.

I’m busy today boiling and dying several dozen eggs. A dozen hard boiled will remain intact and colored with food coloring. With the rest of the eggs I’m making deviled eggs. Hard to believe but I’ve never made deviled eggs!! I was inspired to try when I saw it online. I opted to use beet juice to dye them – works beautifully!! With some of the eggs I boiled and cracked but, did not peel. I soaked them in the juice for a half hour then peeled them. It resulted in a neat marbled look.

These eggs have the shell removed and are soaking in beet juice (straight from cans of beets).

Easter eye dying w Beet juiceEaster deviled eggs 4.19.14

Egg salad: I mixed in spicy mustard, salt, pepper, mayo then garnished with dried dill and paprika.

I’m making potato salad, a 14 lb ham garnished with pineapple chunks (a tradition in our home). Love getting this free deal from ShopRite with their annual “spend this and get a FREE Ham, etc”. Easter Ham 4.2014

Thank you Jesus!!! Thank you for dying for all of us!!!  Happy & Blessed Easter dear friends!!

EASTER

Dance in the rain

BLUE orchid

My appreciation of flowers came from my mom’s passion for plants. She even named me after a flower, Dahlia.

From very young, mom had her hands in our small garden. She wore those cutesy floral cotton garden gloves and enriched the soil with old coffee grounds and egg shells way before composting became popular. She grew the most beautiful Peonies, huge Roses, Dahlias, and Tulips. She put a lot of energy and love into it. Our yard was bursting with colors all Spring & Summer long, year after year. In Fall, I’d kneel beside helping her deadhead the Marigolds after they bloomed…the dried up flower heads would come off with the slightest touch. Every Spring we’d plant each tiny seed knowing how full and beautiful a plant each seed would become.

During this emotionally difficult time for me, as I watch my mom dying from Cancer and her “Season” is coming to a close I am sad. Yet,  I can hear her saying, “This too shall pass”,  “For everything there is a Season”, “Life goes on”… How very true. My heart is heavy and I am even more easily moved to tears but, I am grateful and learning to dance in the rain.

Thank you mom. Thank you God.

 

“For everything their is a Season”

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain”

Yellow flowers for Spring

 

 

Season of Hope

BotanicalsSpring, a season of nature’s beauty, renewal and hope. It’s a reminder that life = constant change. All things grow …and come to pass.

Although I feel devastated these days, since my mom’s diagnosis of stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. I know it too will all pass. A phrase my mom has always used “this too shall pass”. Embrace the day(s) and the moment is what I remind myself throughout the day.

On this first day of Spring I have to have Faith that my mom’s end days will be peaceful. Not the pain filled hours that my mind creates and often obsesses about. :( I force myself to engage with the world (even though I feel like retreating). Life is good, God is good.

I’m blessed with a husband who provides enormous love and support during my emotional lows. I have friends who care. They know that I am likely to burst into tears at any given moment, and that’s OK. I walk around with water-filled eyes, yet I still wear eyeliner!! I just need to carry a box of Puffs tissues with me! I have received cards of support and it feels like a huge hug jumping out from the card. I am so very grateful.

As life happens, it turns out that a dear friend just lost her mom a few weeks ago. Naturally, she is grieving – “we will get through this” she said. Yes, we will, I replied.

Signs of Spring

It’s always beautiful to see blooming flowers at the NYC street markets.Happy faces Pansies

During stressful times in life it’s important to continue to look for, and be thankful for daily blessings.

Life goes on…Live in RW Emerson

Adios…

CB  goodbye

Goodbye, farewell, literally, to God.

Witnessing the circle of life. This past Friday I found out that my mom has late stage Pancreatic Cancer – OMG!! I’ve done a lot of  crying, and sighing. She is aware and says she does not want treatment. She feels  it’s useless – with late stage PC, it often is.  She saw her mom die of it as well, decades ago.  While more is available these days, the bottom line is they can only buy time and attempt to ease symptoms.  At the same time Chemo is powerful and has so many side effects that could only make her days very uncomfortable. My hope is medications could keep her as pain-free as possible.  She wants to go to the beach and spend as much time by the ocean. I’m hoping.

There is nothing I have left unsaid with my mom. She knows I love her and am grateful. For the past two years, after suffering two strokes, she has battled with Aphasia. As frustrating as it is for her, she takes it with humor too.  She will say something, then say “no, not that, ay carajo!” as she  laughs at the  words that  come out of her mouth. Sadly, she was an avid reader and having lost that ability was devastating to her. She worked tirelessly trying to regain that ability. I will miss our two-hour plus phone calls. I will miss her sarcastic sense of humor and quick wit that sometimes got her in trouble with others. I developed my strong love of reading from her,  and my love of flowers. We  share  our first name,  we have similar tastes in food and she is the person I most resemble.

Praying for mom. Praying for strength, for myself, and my siblings that we will be able to do what we have to make mom as comfortable as possible.

SNOWpocalypse!

Haven’t seen such a good snowstorm in years, like the Nor’Easter we had today.  I’m enjoying every moment of Winter!

Not sure why, but  our Post Office was closed – so much for conducting business! City buses appear to be running OK . And DPW  has plowed since the early morning hours.

Thankfully, our local Starbucks was open!

Starbucks

My V day gift

to me:  this pretty long black & white heart printed scarf from H&M. I used my $6 WRAPP app coupon, so I only paid a few dollars = extra happiness!! I do love scarves!!

I’m also doing a few random acts of kindness gifts of chocolate candy, free coupons & free cups of coffee this week. #ShowSomeLove #Valentines

Valentines Day git to me H&M 2014

Quick & easy

Hot out of the oven Broccoli casserole

‘Dump’ casserole recipes – mix and bake. So simple. It’s going to be few busy days of commuting into the city this week, so I’m preparing  today! Thanks to my friend, Karna for posting the idea from the Betty Crocker site.

Naturally, this can be adapted to include whatever you like. I certainly did.  I rarely use Bisquick mix, but like to keep it in the pantry for occasions like this. One could also use the gluten-free mix. You can add more cheese, if I had ricotta I would have cut back on the milk and used ricotta cheese. Some of the reviewers added ham/sausage, etc.

Betty Crocker Dump recipe modified

Veggie Casserole recipe:

1 box of  frozen broccoli (cooked until thawed, but not overcooked – drain any liquid)

1/2 cup of shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup of Bisquick

1 medium Onion, diced

2 medium potatoes (I microwave them just enough to cook some, 3 minutes for both) dice after cooking

1 Egg

1 cup Milk

1 teaspoon of Sazon mix (it’s a mixture of garlic, onion, annatto, coriander spices)

Dash of salt & pepper

Cover the dish with foil paper

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

K is for kooky…

And, for Kindness!! There was no shortage of kindness out there in the streets of NYC, & Westchester county.

KINDNESSSSSS

During a major snafu that knocked power out to all the Metro North trains, for over two hours, during the late evening rush hour this past Thursday. Folks were rightfully upset with the long unexplained delay and inconvenience. People just wanted to get home! The Metro serves residents living in the city suburbs who come and go to work/shop etc. of NYC every day. Fortunately, there are a few transportation options available, albeit a long ride home.

So, I would like to thank the bus driver, of an Express bus line who reached into his pockets to offer us change (for the fare) – since we only had small bills, and of course, they don’t accept bills!  He also dug into his pocket as we exited the bus to offer us his Metro cards – he overheard us discussing what bus we would take to get home. Kudos to this awesome man!!

I was the recipient of a Random Act of Kindness of a bunch of skeins of yarn for my Stitch & Bitch group charity projects. Yayyarn!!

I will find ways to PIF = Pay It Forward PIF Snoopy

WIP Wednesday

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What’s on my hook this week are two more Laps-ghans (from our Valentine’s Day project).

Loving using size K – I can whip things up a lot faster with this large crochet hook.

Sunshine …on cloudy Winter days

Sunshine BisquitsNothing beats the Winter weather like homemade soup along with what I coined “Sunshine” biscuits - they put a smile on everyone’s face :)

I used a can of the Pillsbury Grands biscuits.  One can contain 8 large biscuits, take 7 and slice each in half – place the one in the center of a lightly greased skillet. I used a 11″ cast iron skillet, or, in any large baking pan/sheet. Assemble each half around the pan, going in the same direction. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 -17 minutes.

Chicken Veggie soup

I love using the Crock Pot for soup.  This is my Chicken & Veggie Soup recipe:

6 cups of water

1 can diced tomatoes (with the juice)

1/2 Green/Red pepper – diced

1/2 large onion

2 stalks of diced celery

2 Large Carrots – sliced

3 Whole Bay leaves

2 t of Garlic powder

1 t Salt

A generous pinch of Black Pepper

A pinch of red Hot Pepper flakes – if desired

5 oz  of Tomato paste – OR, 1 packet of Sazon spice will give it some color

Cook on any temp on your slow cooker. During the last hour of cooking, add these:

One 16 0z can of Garbanzo beans (or, you may use White Beans instead)

1/2 c Uncooked Pasta, I used elbow shaped pasta

2 T of uncooked White/Brown rice

1 1/2 c of cooked shredded chicken. I used a chicken breast – leave out if you prefer Veggie soup.

Food for thought…

On the eve of a New Year. I’m looking forward to 2014 & hoping it brings you the best of health & prosperity!!

Believe something good is about to happenI will continue to embrace  opportunities to do  Random Acts of Kindness – no act too small. There are many ways to be a blessing to others and to spread kindness that doesn’t cost very much.  Sometimes those opportunities come in fleeting moments that can pass quickly.

Little things for others

Perfect moment

WIP new project

The ladies of my Stitch & Bitch are working a Valentine’s Day project making Lap-ghans for the Veterans at the Montrose Nursing Home.

So, this is my work in process – I’m using a K hook, chain 89 (working the length across)  for: 27″ x 44″.  I’m doing a hdc with dc on the border colors.

Lapghan close up S&B VA HEarts for Veterans Valentines day project 2014

Lapghan -  Hearts for Veterans Valentines Day project 2014 Montrose NH

Simple & classic

Christmas WreathFresh wreaths – I could never have too many wreaths or Christmas Greens around. The fragrance is amazing!! ShopRite has them on sale for $2.99 – love!!

Wishing you Peace and Joy this Season!

December 14 & 15th Holiday Boutique

Prayer

Just some of the beautiful items for sale at the Holiday boutique at ArtsWestchester in downtown White Plains, NY

Outstanding African Art, Blown glass & Fiber Art were my favorite. Hastings Tea had some cool gift baskets too. Sure love Hastings Tea!!

Snowflake

Crocheted snowflake from Vivien

Like much of the US we’re expecting a bit of snow sometime this weekend. Until the real stuff comes I’ll enjoy this beautiful Crocheted snowflake one of the ladies in my Stitch & Bitch gave me.

Christmas festivities begin…

Santa 12.1.13 Highlights of the Tree lighting festivities in downtown White Plains, NY. There was magical fun for people of all ages. They handed out goodies for the kids, balloons,  served hot cocoa, churros, fried dough.

WPHS Marching Band

Calvary Baptist

Forever Young Singers

Tree Lighting

Help for fur-babies!!

pets

Two ladies along with a number of dedicated volunteers are helping folks keep their fur-babies!! There are so many ways people can help out …and it doesn’t require necessarily a lot of money. There is strength in numbers and one bag at a pet food at a time adds up! Westchester county businesses can get a “donation box” to place in their business to gather pet food donations during the holiday season.

As a pet lover I know the value of pets and the tremendous role they can play in one’s life. The Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry, in White Plains, NY provides to those on a limited income. I use coupons along with sales to gather pet food to give to the HVPFP.

This video shows you what and how of a Pet Food Pantry. You might even be inspired to start one in your area! Watch now: http://www.whiteplainsweek.com/ptbh-11-27-13-petfood.wmv

Prayer of Thanksgiving

thanksgiving prayer Emerson

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

A very cool win!!

Yes, I won!! An awesome win of an overnight in midtown Manhattan, NYC in a deluxe room at the Westin Grand Central Hotel – up high on the 37th floor!! And, 4 tickets to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

The hotel was naturally luxurious. They have one restaurant, “LCL” =  $$$! However, these NY’ers are always in search of a deal. We found a cool 24/7 deli nearby: http://www.everydaygourmetdeli.com – they carry a variety of foods and at reasonable prices. We had very yum slice of White pizza – so anxious I was to dig in that I forgot to take a pic!!

View from our room

We lucked out with great weather so walking around was pleasant. It’s easy to walk miles in the city and not realize how much you’ve walked. The streets were bustling with people from all over. Tour buses, taxi’s, shoppers, passing loads of food vendors with yum items like roasting chestnuts, hot pretzels, hot dogs, knishes, kabobs and falafels. The smaller boutiques and stores like H&M were all decorated in holiday lights and colors.

The Christmas show is a spectacular for children and adults! No need to spend extra money on Orchestra seating, the first mezzanine (in first few rows) offer the best view of the stage. If you’re taking children you’ll want to prepare for the many memorabilia like handheld swirly toys, T-shirts, popcorn, beverages and cotton candy for the kids.

Chandelier

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