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Thursday, March 26, 2009

spring flowers & other spring things

Here are some of my beautiful spring flowers in the front yard...
I love my cute Easter tree!

I've been dying to use my Pampered Chef decorator bottles since I got them for Christmas.
Today I decided to make "spring" cupcakes.
It took me about 12 cupcakes to get the hang of using the bottles & tips.
These are some of the ones that turned out best...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

things I love for spring...

Spring is finally here...thank goodness!
I can't think of a time when I've been this ready for spring.
I'm loving the beautiful flowers in our front flower bed...I'll try to get a picture tomorrow if it's not raining.

Seeing the beautiful flowers & feeling the spring air put me in the mood for spring cleaning.
So, yesterday I cleaned the house from top to bottom.

I'm talking washing windows, cleaning base boards & chair rails, washing all the linens, cleaning the oven, dusting, vacuuming, mopping...
It was warm so I left the windows open while I cleaned & into the evening.
I love the smell of a clean house & spring air!

Cheri told me about the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser so I tried it out for myself yesterday.
It's amazing...my kitchen sink & bathtubs look brand new!
I also used it to get some scratches off of our white chair rail in the kitchen. It's definitely my new favorite cleaning tool!

Speaking of new things I love...
my new favorite Bath & Body Works scent is the
Aromatherapy Orange Ginger.
My mom & I spent the night at the Evergreen Resort Friday night for an Oncology Symposium and our cute little toiletries were Orange Ginger from Bath & Body Works.

How springy is this???
This is my favorite new Vera Bradley print...Hope Garden.
Do I need another bag of any type...definitely not!
Hopefully I'll come up with a good excuse to get a bag in this print though.
Love it!

This is the scene in my kitchen window right now.
I cut these fresh flowers from the yard yesterday after I finished cleaning the house.
The hyacinth smells glorious & the daffodils just brighten up the whole room.

I'm so thankful for spring,
for beautiful spring flowers to see,
for the crisp spring air to feel & smell,
and for the ability to use my senses to enjoy the newness of spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Irish indeed

In honor of St. Patrick's day, for dinner Tuesday night I made Irish Beef Stew.
It turned out great so I wanted to share the recipe.
Also in the spirit of the Irish, I steamed some asparagus to go with dinner.
I love asparagus but had never cooked it.
Suprisingly, Chris liked it too.
Here's the recipe...

Irish Beef Stew
2 Tbsp. oil
1-1/2 lb. trimmed boneless beef round steak, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. flour
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) beef broth
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 env. GOOD SEASONS Garlic & Herb Dressing Mix
3 medium potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 pieces
3 cups hot cooked noodles

Heat oil in 5-quart saucepot on medium-high heat.
Coat meat with flour.
Add to saucepot with onion; cook and stir until browned.
Stir in broth, tomatoes and dressing mix.
Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Add potatoes and carrots; cover.
Simmer an additional 30 minutes.
Remove cover; simmer 15 minutes or until meat is tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
Serve over noodles.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Sunday, March 8th
After getting home from church my mom called with news that turned my little world upside down...
My grandmother, Peppes, had died unexpectedly.
After not feeling well over the weekend, she opted to stay home from church on Sunday morning, but insisted that Pop go on without her.
He always did what she wanted him to do so he went along.
When he got back home, she was gone.
He told us that it looked like she had just fallen asleep in her chair.
He said she looked so peaceful.
I am so glad she didn't linger and suffer. We all are comforted by that.

Chris & I immediately drove home...it was the longest drive home ever.
The last week and a half has been a whirlwind.
There have been moments where the reality of it hits me like a ton of bricks and other moments where I feel like she might call me at any minute.

Peppes meant the world to me.
She was the finest Christian lady.
In my eyes, she was a woman who could do no wrong.
She spoiled me and all of her grandchildren.
I had never once stopped to imagine life without her.

I knew how much she meant to me and to many others, but I had no idea just how many others.
At her visitation Monday night, nearly 600 people came to comfort us and share their memories of Peppes with us.
Many told stories of how she had touched their lives in ways that we did not even know.
Almost 300 people were with us on Tuesday for her funeral, or as we prefered to call it a celebration of her life.
Pop, my mom, aunt, and sisters stood to read words they had written about Peppes.
I was not composed enough to read, but mom read the words I had written for me:

My grandmother died on the most beautiful day in March.
I am certain it was the most beautiful day a March month has ever seen.
That's exactly how God planned it, and I know she would have approved.

Peppes is the name I gave her as a child, and it just seemed to stick.
She shared so much of herself with me.
Peppes taught me to love to read, she taught me how to make the best banana pudding, she set the most perfect example of how a husband should be loved, and most of all she taught me to love God.

Peppes was truly the finest example of a virtuous woman.
She walked right alongside God, and I am certain that is where she was when she left this world.

She was my lighthouse; always a shining source of light and constant encouragement to me.
Matthew 5:14says "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.".
I know that her light has touched so many of us.
It will continue to shine on.

I love you Peppes.

There are hardly 10 consecutive minutes that go by that she doesn't cross my mind.
I hope it's that way forever.
We all have so many happy memories of her.

I don't regret anything about the 25 years I shared with her in my life,
I just regret that I don't have any more time with her.
She was there for so many major events in my life--
my baptism, my high school graduation, my nursing school graduation, our wedding...
I will miss sharing the future events in my life with her.
I am so sorry that our children will never meet their great grandmother.
You can believe that they will hear all about her though.

She was the greatest of ladies in so many regards, too many to name.
Her memory will live on with us forever.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Our sweet neighbors gave us an amaryllis kit for Christmas.

Slowly, but surely it grew and grew & finally started blooming this week.

It's so beautiful...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter in the Christian tradition.
It is observed as a time of prayer, service, and fasting.

Although I've always observed the Easter season, I've honestly never paid that much attention to Lent and what it represents.

This year, I decided to participate in the act of giving something up for Lent.

In order to really exercise true self-restraint and surrender, I knew I should give up something that I really loved...

So, I have been without chocolate in any form for the last week!
It's been a great exercise in self-control for me especially since we still have chocolate sitting around from Christmas & Valentine's Day.

I really had no idea just how many things I eat/drink every day that contain chocolate...no more mochas, hot chocolate, chocolate milk...
I'm so glad I'm doing this though!