April 30, 2011

Got Zucchini?

Many years ago I knew a man named Bob who had a large family to support.  Bob always planted a summer garden. One year the zucchini really took off and Bob had a lot of it on his hands.

He grilled, boiled, baked, and fried it.  He marinated, stuffed, and pickled it. He chopped and sliced it.  He made zucchini boats, pasta salad, soup, bread, and omelets.  He added it to leafy salads and also served raw zucchini sticks.  He hid it in the mac 'n cheese and the spaghetti sauce!  He made zucchini curd, zucchini crab cakes, and zucchini shrimp. He tried feeding it to his cat and dogs. He even arranged a table centerpiece featuring zucchini!

Bob brought zucchini to work and begged us to take it. I took home a large bag to make him smile, ate a few, but  the rest spoiled in the fridge. Bob piled it up on the sidewalk at his house and put up a sign, "Free, Help Yourself."  However, the size of the pile never went down.  Evidently everyone else in the neighborhood was experiencing a good year for zucchini, too!

Bob remarked that if he could afford to, he would pay people to take it. I told him to just let it rot in the garden.  After all, he couldn't send it to the starving children in China.  You've heard that one, haven't you? "Eat your vegetables, there's starving children in China."   Or, "Don't throw away that left-over casserole, there's starving children in China." 

Well, if I had contact with Bob now (Oh,  I wonder if he ever planted zucchini again?) I would send him this Pineapple Zucchini Bread recipe.  He could bake it and sell it, easily.  In fact, it is so good, that Bob could possibly quit his job and spend his days, instead, baking and selling Pineapple Zucchini  Bread. He may even be able to send his kids to college with zucchini bread money.

This recipe is a winner!  It's moist and delicious.  You can give it as gifts. You can toast it for breakfast or eat it as a dessert or snack. Have a cup of coffee with it . . . even add whipped cream.  The big bonus is,  you can  (m-a-y-b-e)  count it towards your vegetables for the day.  I don't think, however, that idea would be supported by the USDA and National Institutes of Health!

I got this recipe from a cookbook compiled by my nephew's wife, Carolyn Fitzkee.  She has put together the book in memory of her grandmother, Ruth Clemmer (Latshaw) Bauman, whose dedication to family, faith, and good food has been passed on to the next generation.

And the winner is . . . Pineapple Zucchini Bread!

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar (this is sweeter than I like it; I cut the sugar down to 1-1/4 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups flour
1 can (8-1/4 oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup chopped nuts
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons baking soda

Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla until thick.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Blend well.  Pour into 2 (5 x 9-inch) loaf pans and bake in 350 degree oven for one hour.  (I've found it takes a little less than an hour.)

April 29, 2011

Yesterday's Prices, the 1930's

 Y is for Yesterday's Prices, the 1930's.  (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

Imagine how much farther your food budget would stretch if your next shopping trip was based on yesterday's prices (1930's).
  • cabbage, 3 cents a pound
  • Campbell's Tomato Soup, 25 cents for four cans
  • hotdogs, 8 cents a pound
  • oranges, 14 for 25 cents
  • potatoes, 18 cents for ten pounds
  • iceberg lettuce, 7 cents a head
  • ketchup, 9 cents
  • dozen eggs, 18 cents
  • bananas, 19 cents for four pounds
  • peanut butter, 23 cents a quart
  • loaf of bread, 5 cents
  • toilet paper, 9 cents for two rolls
  • Brand Flakes, 10 cents
  • Camay Soap, 6 cents a bar
  • toothpaste, 27 cents
  • applesauce, 20 cents for three cans
  • chocolate bar, 5 cents
  • single-dip ice-cream cone, 5 cents
  • milk, 14 cents a quart
  • round steak, 42 cents a pound
But remember, the average salary in the 1930's was $1,368.  So probably those people cringed when they went shopping, too, just as we do!

    April 28, 2011

    X-words Word Search

    X is for X-words Word Search  (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

    I hate word searches; they get on my nerves.  Yet, I can happily spend hours at a time putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

    For those of you who love word searches as much as I love jigsaw puzzles, here is one for you featuring words that begin with X.

    I got this word search from WordSearchFun.com

    This is a great little site!  You can make your own word searches or  play thousands of searches that are already made.  You can play online, or print and do it the old-fashioned way using pencil and paper.  Then you can scramble and play again!

    Again, the site is WordSearchFun.com.

    Words That Start With X
    X-RATED
    XANADU
    XANTHEIN
    XANTHISM
    XANTHOMATOSIS
    XANTHOUS
    XEBEC
    XENODIAGNOSIS
    XENOGRAPH
    XENOLITH
    XENOMANIA
    XENOMORPHIC
    XEROPHYTICALLY
    XEROX
    XHOSA
    XI
    XIPHISTERNAL
    XIPHOID
    XRAY
    XRAYPULSAR
    XYLEM
    XYLENOL
    XYLOCARPOUS
    XYLOGEN
    XYLOGRAPHIC
    XYLOID
    XYLOPHONE
    XYLOSE
    XYLOTOMY
    XYST
    N E H R D O Y C I H P A R G O L Y X M X
    R C S A D I O H P I X E N O M A N I A I
    N L B S O Q F D K W H T J T R U I T Z O
    I A P L X S I S O T A M O H T N A X F N
    E N D U Z Q H Q I I P U T R A P E E N I
    H R N P D W G L U H A U E B S R P N S U
    T E E Y K Z O I P I T L V T O D M O H J
    N T S A Q N C A H U K Q Y P H D E D N S
    A S O R E E R L K M Q W H Z X C L I C H
    X I L X B G U E L S L Y O Y Y Y Y A X G
    A H Y E O U P P E S T O L C L J X G Q P
    N P X N Y A I N Q I Z O H X O V Y N A W
    T I E O C M M V C C C N N D P C S O A A
    H X R M U P O A C A S E C I H E T S H C
    O - O O E F L T R Q P G X O O Y R I H N
    U R X R Q L L P O I V O J L N C B S P N
    S A F P Y B O B Q L I L L Y E F L Z O F
    E T H H C U S S A I Y Y B X A N A D U W
    K E E I S L O N E L Y X A N T H I S M S
    E D D C N Y T S I J E E A M N D X M W E

    April 27, 2011

    The Wicked Bible


    W is for The Wicked Bible (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

    Whatever would make a Bible wicked?  Well, here's the story!

    In 1631, two printers in London, Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, printed a reproduction of the King James Bible.  Unknown to them, there was one typographical error in the Book of Exodus that made a very serious difference!

    It involved the Ten Commandments.  The translation of the seventh commandment should have read, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The word not was left out, so it read, "Thou shalt commit adultery."  Of course this caused a stir among the religious people, since it appeared that the Bible was giving a command to commit adultery.

    When England's King Charles I and the Archbishop of Canterbury heard about the error, a special investigation was held.  As it turned out, Barker and Lucas were ordered to pay a fine the amount of a month's salary.  They were also ordered to give up their publishing license.

    The Bible with the error was given the name, Wicked Bible, also sometimes known as the Adulterous Bible, or Sinners Bible.  The king ordered the copies of the Wicked Bible be burned.

    Somehow, at least eleven copies of it survived and are extremely valuable with collectors of rare books.  One copy is the New York City Library.  Another copy is on display in a Bible museum in Branson, Missouri.  It is thought that other copies of the Wicked Bible are owned by private collectors.  January 17, 2011, a copy went on display at Cambridge University.  Reportedly there is one Wicked Bible for sale now at a rare and antique Bible website.  It is selling for $89,500.
    Article Source:  Wikipedia

    April 26, 2011

    Vinegar Bible

     V for Vinegar Bible (A-Z Blogging Challenge)
     
    Pretend, just for the sake of this blog post,  that fame offers the ideal, perfect life.  It doesn't, we know, but remember that we are just pretending. Also pretend that you love attention and being noticed, and that you feel that being famous  would somehow validate your worth as a human.

    What would you do to be famous?

    Would you swallow swords?
    Go on American Idol?
    Give away millions of dollars?
    Write a book?
    Would you be willing to handle poisonous snakes?
    Hire a publicist who could create something newsworthy about you or what you do?
    Train to be an Olympic champion?
    Shave your head and paint it with colorful polka dots?
    Run for president?
    Have twenty children?
    Grow a third leg?
    Make a mistake?

    Have you heard of the Vinegar Bible?  It gets its name and fame from, yes,  a mistake!

    The Vinegar Bible was printed in 1717 by John Baskett in Oxford at the Clarendon Press.  It has a mistake in the chapter heading for Luke 20.  It should read,  "The Parable of the Vineyard," but instead it reads,  "The Parable of the Vinegar."  (photo by Crystal Craig, Dreamstime.com)

    The story is told of Rev. Robert Vincent, an Anglican missionary assigned to the St. John's Church fishing village.  He owned a Lunenburg Vinegar Bible.

    Vincent died young, and his widow sold the Bible to Nova Scotia's governor (Michael Francklin) in 1766.  It is believed the Bible stayed in Francklin's family for several generations.

    Somehow the Bible showed up at Cambridge University about 20 years ago.  It contained notes written by Francklin and the births and deaths of family members.

    And so 236 years later, 2008, the Bible returned "home."

    April 25, 2011

    Uncle Uri's Fifth Avenue Pudding

    U is for Uncle Uri's Fifth Avenue Pudding.   (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

    This is a delectable recipe to spruce up pudding and make it special for any significant occasion. Just ask Uncle Uri!

    Recipe for Uncle Uri's Fifth Avenue Pudding  

    1 lg pkg vanilla instant pudding
    1 (12-oz) carton Cool Whip
    1 inner pkg graham crackers
    1/4 c. butter
    1/2 lb Fifth Avenue candy bars (Can also use Butterfinger candy bars, but don't tell Uncle Uri you switched the Fifth Avenue bars on him!)

    Directions:  Make instant pudding according to directions on package.  Let it stand for five to ten minutes.

    Mix the Cool Whip into pudding.  Crush graham crackers.  Melt butter and pour over crackers. Mix until crumbs are moistened.

    Crush Fifth Avenue candy bars.  Put a layer of graham crumbs in a bowl, a layer of crushed candy, then the pudding.  Alternate layers until all is used.  Reserve enough crumbs and Fifty Avenue bars for topping.

    April 23, 2011

    Trivia About Mothers




     (Artwork from  artware.webs.com/Artworkwebsite4.html)


    T is for trivia about mothers (A-Z Blogging Challenge)


    Jayne Bleackley holds the record for the shortest interval between two children born in separate confinements. Her babies were born 208 days apart.  She gave birth to Joseph Robert on September 3, 1999, and Annie Jessica Joyce on March 30, 2000.

    Elizabeth Ann Buttle  holds the record for the longest interval between the birth of two children. She gave birth to Belinda on May 19,1956 and Joseph on November 20, 1997. The babies were born 41 years 185 days apart. The mother was 60 years old when her son Joseph was born.

    The odds of a woman delivering twins is 1-in-33.  The odds of her having triplets is 1-in-539.

    The highest officially recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (1707-1782) of Shuya, Russia. Between 1725 and 1765, she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets. 67 of them survived infancy.

    When the female embryo is only six weeks old, it develops egg cells for her future children.  When the baby girl is born, each of her ovaries carries about a million egg cells, all that she will ever have.

    August is the most popular month to have a baby.  Tuesday is the most popular day of the week to have a baby.

    The youngest mother on record was Lina Medina who gave birth at the age of 5 years, 7 months.  She delivered a 6-1/2 pound baby boy by cesarean section in Lina, Peru in 1939.  See Snopes report.

    The median age of a woman giving birth for the first time in the U.S. is 24.8 years.

    There are more phone calls made on Mother's Day than on any other day of the year. However, the number of calls is declining due to e-mail and other electronic communication.

    Mother's Day is the third largest card-sending holiday.

    Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants.






      April 22, 2011

      Sleeping At Your Desk and Caught?

      (Photo by Djk, Dreamstime.com) 


      S is for Sleeping.  (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

      Ten Best Things To Say If You Get Caught Sleeping At Your Desk

      10. " They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

      9.  "This is just a 15 minute power nap like they raved about in that time management course you sent me to."

      8.  "I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance."

      7.  "Too bad you interrupted me.  I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."

      6.  "Whew!  Guess I left the top off the White-Out.  You probably got here just in time!"

      5.  "I wasn't sleeping.  I was meditating on the company's mission statement."

      4.  "I was doing a highly specific yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress.  Are you discriminatory toward people who practice yoga?"

      3.  "The coffee machine is broken."

      2.  "Someone must've put decaf in the wrong pot."

      And the #1 best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk . . .

      1.  ". . . in Jesus' name.  Amen."

      April 21, 2011

      A Red Plate, Does Your Family Follow This Tradition?


      R is for Red Plate.  A-Z Blogging Challenge.

      Have you heard of the special Red Plate?

      Early American families had a tradition in which someone being recognized in a special way was served a meal on a red plate.  It was a visible reminder to the one receiving it that they were supported, loved, remembered, and appreciated.


      Think of  all the ways it could be used today:
      birthdays
      graduations
      good grades
      a sports victory
      any kind of recovery
      a big welcome home
      a pregnancy confirmed
      a difficult job done well
      the successful landing of a job
      an act of kindness
      encouragement after disappointment
      Mother's Day
      Father's Day
      welcoming a guest in your home

      Ceramic Red Plate available at WondrousStory.com.

      April 20, 2011

      Quiz on Bible Trivia

      Q is for a Quiz on Bible Trivia.  A-Z Blogging Challenge.
       
      Go ahead, try it! Take this quiz on Bible Trivia.

      1. About how tall was Goliath?
      1. 10 feet
      2. 13 feet
      3. 15 feet
      4. 20 feet
      2. In what book of the Bible is the story of David and Goliath?
      1. I Kings
      2. I Chronicles
      3. I Samuel
      4. Ezra
      3. Who did Ruth marry after her first husband died?
      1. Mahlon
      2. Boaz
      3. Elimelech
      4. Pharez
      4. Oldest person in the Bible.
      1. Enos
      2. Mahalaleel
      3. Enoch
      4. Methuselah
      5. The first person to go to heaven that did not die in the flesh.
      1. Enoch
      2. Elijah
      3. Shem
      4. Moses
      6. Blessed are the _____ for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      1. meek
      2. merciful
      3. poor in spirit
      4. pure in heart
      7. Artaxerxes was king of _____?
      1. Persia
      2. Babylon
      3. Israel
      4. Judah
      8. "Even so faith, if it hath not _____ , is dead, being alone."
      1. love
      2. grace
      3. works
      4. acts
      9.  Nebuchadnezzar was king of this city.
      1. Judah
      2. Israel
      3. Babylon
      4. Persia
       10. Esau is also known as _____.
      1. Daniel
      2. Edom
      3. Babylon
      4. Elmore
       Answers:   (1) about 13 feet   (2) I Samuel 17:1-58   (3) Boaz   (4) Methuselah   (5) Enoch   (6) poor in spirit   (7) Persia   (8) works   (9) Babylon   (10) Edom

      So how did you do?  Now go stump your family and friends with your trivia knowledge!

      April 19, 2011

      Pancakes In a Pan

      Pancakes In a Pan
      (This recipe is easier than pouring batter and flipping!)

      1/2 stick butter or margarine
      1 cup pancake syrup.
      2 cups pancake mix

      Directions:
      Heat butter to melt and mix with syrup.  Pour both into  9" x 13" pan.

      Follow directions on pancake box for 2 cups of the mix.  Pour over butter/syrup mixture.  Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

      Cut into serving pieces.   Yippee!  Pancakes for breakfast,  but they just happen to be square and made in a pan!

      April 18, 2011

      Opor Ayam

      (A-Z Blogging Challenge)
      O is for Opor Ayam (Stewed Chicken the Indonesian way) 

      I lived in Indonesia for eight years. At first I did not like Indonesian cooking. (*See story below).   But after awhile I developed a taste for it and eventually I enjoyed this recipe.  I still make it occasionally.

      Recipe for Opor Ayam

      Ingredients:
      1 large chicken cut into pieces
      1 tsp coriander
      1 tsp cumin
      1 Tbsp brown sugar
      peanut oil as needed
      salt to taste
      1 med onion, crushed
      2 med onions, chopped
      3 garlic cloves, crushed
      1 garlic clove, chopped
      1/4 cup peanuts or cashews, crushed
      1/2 tsp shrimp or fish paste
      1 tsp grated lime peel
      1 Tbsp lemon juice
      3 cups coconut milk
      2 bay leaves

      Directions:
      Mix the following together in a bowl:  crushed onion, crushed garlic, nuts, cumin, coriander.  Rub the chicken with the above mixture and then leave the chicken with the mixture in a covered bowl for half an hour.

      Remove the pieces from the bowl and fry them in the peanut oil until they are half cooked.

      Now fry the following ingredients in moderately hot oil:  chopped onions, chopped garlic, brown sugar, shrimp or fish paste, lemon juice, brown sugar, lime peel, salt.  When the onions are soft, add the chicken and also the remainder of the mixture.

      Fry on the same medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and bay leaves.  Turn the heat to low and allow everything to cook .  It will thicken.

      Serve this dish in a covered bowl or in a tureen.  Serve it with rice, of course!


      *Story about one experience I had before I learned to like Indonesian cooking!

      I was attending language school in Bandung, Indonesia with three other people.  We were headed for tribal work in Irian Jaya (See post, The Missionary and the Grub).  We would eventually be doing our work in the tribal language.  However, we needed to also learn Indonesian since it was the national language of the country.

      Between semesters of language study in Bandung, we took a trip to the western part of the island.  We stayed at an Indonesian motel.

      I did not yet enjoy very much Indonesian food.  So the first evening we ate dinner at the motel, my face lit up when I noticed "sandwiches" on the menu.  When I asked the server about them, she told me I was sure to like them as they were "Enak" (delicious).

      While everyone else ordered Indonesian food, I ordered the sandwiches.  I thought I simply could not wait to devour a couple of delicious sandwiches once again.  I imagined what might be in those sandwiches.  Would it be chicken salad, some kind of sliced meat, cheese???

      So when the sandwiches were brought to our table, what was between the slices of bread?  Rice!

      My friends who ordered Indonesian food were also surprised.  When writing the order,  they had numbered the different kinds of food they wanted, like this:

      1.  Ayam Surabaya
      2.  Soto Babi
      3.  Sate Udang
      4.  Ikan Asam Manis

      What they got was, one order of Ayam Surabaya, two orders of Soto Babi, three orders of Sate Udang, and four orders of Ikan Asam Manis!

      Yes, those who loved Indonesian food really got their fill that evening!

      April 16, 2011

      What Did the Necktie Said to the Head?

      Tie-#1 Dad (Polyester)N is for necktie.  A-Z Blogging Challenge

      So what did the necktie say to the head? 

      "You just go on a head, and I'll hang around."

      Since 1920, necktie fashions have been all about width, length, pattern, and color.  Before WWII, ties were much shorter than they are today, probably because of men's trousers being high waisted and also the popularity of three-piece suits.

      Necktie widths have gone back and forth throughout the years.  Post war ties were wild and bold, then the skinny ties appeared in the mid 1960's. The big wild ties came back again in the mid 1970's, some measuring as wide as 5 inches! Then along came the narrow ties again in the 1980's, only to swing back to wide in the 90's! These days, a moderate 3" to 3-3/4" width is in style.

      I guess the lesson you can learn from this is, don't throw away your old ties, as you will probably be able to wear them again (and in style) in a few years or more!

      Now, do you want to try your skill with a tie tongue twister?  Go ahead!  If Kantie can tie a tie and untie a tie, why can't I tie a tie and untie a tie like Kantie can?

      Necktie triviaAccording to an old "The People's Almanac",  an American man spends four hours a year tying his necktie. 

      The Misionary and the Grub, a True Story

      M is for missionary. A-Z Blogging Challenge

      Yes, it happened to me.  I was this missionary.

      A missionary in Papua Barat (formerly known as Irian Jaya), Indonesia was visiting two missionary friends. A  villager showed up at the door and proudly handed the visiting missionary a gift wrapped in a large banana leaf.  She curiously unwrapped it, and there lay 60 fat, wiggling sago grubs.  These short, stout larva or worms lived inside sago trees and were considered a favorite food among the tribal people in Papua.

      "Enak" ("delicious" in English),  grinned the villager as he reached for the frying pan. "I will cook them just for you." 

      Knowing it would be extremely rude to refuse, the missionary thought maybe it would be acceptable to limit the amount of grubs she was expected to eat.  "Oh, I'll just eat one," she told the villager.

      The houseboy grinned and nodded, but continued  to toss the grubs into the frying pan.

      "I'll only eat one,"  the missionary reminded him again and again.  But the houseboy's grin only got wider.  So the missionary watched as 60 round, fat grubs sizzled over the fire.  She wished a dozen times she was having lunch somewhere else.

      Ten minutes later, the village boy placed the platter of 60 hot, freshly-fried grubs in front of the missionary's plate.  "Enak," he again reassured her.

      The missionary, ever mindful of not offending the Papuans, took a helping of rice and several spoonfuls of green beans.  And then she took a helping of just one grub.  It was the smallest one on the platter, as far as she could tell.

      The missionary ate the rice and the green beans.  Too soon her plate was empty excepting for one, lone little sago grub. Which, by the way, no longer seemed so little!

      She glanced around the table. Her friends were watching her.  The village boy was watching her, still grinning.

      She cleared her throat, swallowed hard, took a deep breath and picked up that sago grub.  She shut her eyes, popped it into her mouth, chewed gingerly, and swallowed.  And then she reached for a tall glass of water . . .

      The village boy ate the remaining 59 grubs for his lunch.  Remember that grubs are considered a favorite among these tribal people.  Therefore, he was delighted to have them.  The missionary, too, was delighted for him to have them!

      I cannot think of a moral to end this silly--but very true--story.  Can you?

      Limericks

      L is for Limericks, A-Z Blogging Challenge

      Do you remember having to write Limericks in school?  They are five-line poems:  Two long lines, two short lines, and then another long line.  They have a rhyming pattern of a-a-b-b-a .

      My favorite limericks have been written by Ray Driver.

      There was an odd beaver from Corning
      Who liked to cook pancakes each morning.
      With a flip of his tail,
      To the ceiling they'd sail,
      Then they'd fall to the floor without warning!


      There was a sick seal named Miss Rose
      Who went to a doctor she knows.
      He advised the young seal,
      "Eat a well-balanced meal."
      So she balanced a stew on her nose!


      There was a slim penguin named Blair
      Who munched on an ice-cream eclair.
      When she finished that one
      She ate twelve more for fun,
      Till she looked like a black and white pear!

      There was a huge rhino named Lorne
      Who loved to eat snacks in the morn.
      He had one clever quirk--
      As he left home for work,
      He had doughnuts stacked high on his horn!

      Is there anyone creative enough to write a limerick about the A-Z Blogging Challenge?

      April 15, 2011

      Karen Kingsbury


      K is for Karen Kingsbury,  A-Z Blogging Challenge

      Who could make you want to dash right out and get a certain author's books to read?

      Well,  my friend Kathryn could!

      I never paid much attention to books by Karen Kingsbury.  I saw them in bookstores, in the library, and advertised on the web.

      I liked the way Karen's name looked, with her first and last name both beginning with "K".   And when you say her name, it has a nice ring to it.  I knew her books always looked colorfully attractive with good-looking people on the cover.  But other than that, I didn't choose to get involved with her books.

      Then Kathryn started talking about them.

      Me:  What kind of books does Karen write?

      Kathryn:  Fiction.

      Me:  Do you have a favorite?

      Kathryn:  Yes, The Redemption Series.  There are five books:  (1) Redemption, (2) Remember, (3) Return, (4) Rejoice, and (5) Reunion.  They follow a family, the Baxters.  There are five children:  four girls, and the youngest is a boy.  Each book focuses on one of the children, but the whole family is in every book.

      Me:  What are some issues this series raises?

      Kathryn:  They cover infidelity, aids, 911, family tragedies.  The books show the benefit of being part of a strong Christian family and how they can get through anything.  I was always sad to finish every book, but thrilled to start the next one!

      Me:  Would you read The Redemption Series again?

      Kathryn:  Oh, I already have!  I've read the whole series twice, all the way through.  And I cry in every one!  I feel like I am part of the Baxter family.  They are the kind of family that you want to be a part of.  And all the books end like they're supposed to!

      Me:  So are the Baxters a perfect family that doesn't exist in real life?

      Kathryn:  No, sad things and problems do happen, and even though the family teaches about God, sometimes things go wrong.  Through prayer and commitment to God, things all turn out OK.  Sometimes the kids make poor choices, but they always find their way back because the parents don't give up on them.



      April 12, 2011

      Jokes About Easter Bunnies

       (Photo by themightyshrub, Dreamstime.com) 
      J is for Jokes about Easter bunnies,  A-Z Blogging Challenge

      What do you call a line of rabbits walking backwards?  A receding hare  line.

      What did the bunny want to do when he grew up?  Join the Hare Force.

      How does the Easter bunny paint all those eggs?  He hires Santa's elves during the off season.

      What do you get when you cross the Easter bunny with an overstressed person?  An Easter basket case.

      What's pink, has five toes, and is carried by the Easter rabbit?  His lucky peoples' foot.

      What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rabbit?  An elephant that never forgets to eat his carrots.

      Why did the Easter rabbit fire the duck?  He kept quacking the eggs.
       (Go ahead, laugh.  You know you want to!)

      April 11, 2011

      Ice Pops

      Ice Pops

      You don't have to wait for hot weather to enjoy a refreshing ice pop.  Make your own version using fresh fruit and yogurt.  It's easy, and you control what goes in them.

      This recipe is a tropical blend of banana, pineapple, and strawberry. But use anything you like such as blueberries, peaches, raspberries, mangoes, etc.

      Tropical Fruit Ice Pops (Makes 8 pops)

      1 banana, cut into pieces
      1 cup crushed pineapple in its own juice, drained
      1 pint strawberries, halved
      1 cup vanilla yogurt
      1/4 cup honey

      Directions:  Combine banana, pineapple, strawberries, yogurt and honey in a blender or food processor.  Whirl until smooth.

      Fill 6-ounce paper drinking cups or plastic juice-pop holders with this mixture.  Place a wooden stick in each.  Freeze.

      That's it!  Enjoy your own homemade Ice Pops!

      April 9, 2011

      Handsome Harvey

      Harvey came to live with me two years ago. He's quite a handsome guy with gray and white long hair.  He's got a great personality and a twinkle in his eyes. It was love at first sight for both of us.
       
      My sister Ruthie claims I'm a needy-cat magnet.  My friend Sue says I can spot a cat a mile away while driving 70 mph.  So there was no doubt that, two years ago,  I would notice two needy kittens sitting in the parking lot of the local Dollar General Store.  The thin, hungry little guys were hosting dozens of fleas.  Of course, they both went home with me!  So that lucky day, Harvey and his brother, Theodore, increased my cat family by two.
                                                                                                                                                                             Now more about Harvey.  Harvey is . . . well, goofy in an entertaining, delightful sort of way.  I don't need an alarm clock because Harvey is very dependable and persistent in getting me up in the mornings.  As soon as he thinks it is time for his breakfast, Harvey is right there on my pillow, patting my face with his paw.  He politely waits a few minutes to see if  I am taking him seriously.  If not, he continues to intermittently pat my face until I agree with him that yes, it is time to get up.

      Harvey likes to sit on top of the refrigerator. This way he can supervise everything that is going on in the kitchen and dining room.  Occasionally he will knock down a cereal box just to remind me he is up there.  When I open the refrigerator door, he leans down from above to peer into the frig.  A few times Harvey has even jumped into it. I always remind him, that while it's OK to be a "cool cat",  being inside the frig is probably a little more cool than either of us has in mind.

      Last night I was sitting on my lazy boy recliner.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something swinging.  Why, it was my hanging spider plant! Now what could have make that flower pot swing like that?  Ohhhhh, there was a cat sitting right on top of the spider plant, squashing it flat. He had a twinkle in his eye as if to say, "Wheeee, look at meeee!"  And no, it wasn't Theodore.

      It must be time to end this post, because Harvey just jumped up between me and the computer screen. Goodness, is it time for the kitty treats already?

      April 8, 2011

      Grace

      G is for Grace.  (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

      Three Graces come to my mind.

      One is Aunt Grace, my mother's sister. Aunt Grace collected postage stamps and enjoyed putting together jigsaw puzzles.  She would give us girls coloring books, crayons, and paperdolls for Christmas.  When we got older, we received books such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Judy Bolton, and Cherry Ames.

      Aunt Grace and Uncle Packard would come to visit and stay for a meal. Aunt Grace always took lots of pills.  When we sat down to eat, the first thing she did was take out her pill bottles and count out her pills!  I was always fascinated by the different sizes, shapes, and colors.   She also drank a lot of coffee.  Coffee usually was not served at meals at our house, but it was served when Aunt Grace came to visit. Aunt Grace died in her early 60's from a series of strokes. 

      Another Grace is one of my current students.  She is every teacher's dream.  She bounces into the classroom every morning eager for whatever is going to happen that day.  She works hard, does her homework, gets along well with all the other kids, and is always eager and ready to help out. Oh, and she is in love with Justin Bieber!  Read what Grace has to say about Justin, although I am not allowed to tell you which one of these essays was written by Grace.

      My third grace is the grace of God.  Grace and mercy are buddies in the Bible and hang around with each other.  Simply put, grace is God giving blessings and doing good for me that I do not deserve.  Mercy is God not giving me the bad that I do deserve.  This does not mean I can do whatever I want because grace and mercy are there to cover for me.  Rather, my understanding of grace and mercy should make me want to respond by living my life as God expects me to because of what He has done for me.

      By the way, my middle name is Grace.

      April 7, 2011

      Flubber

      F is for Flubber.  No, not the Disney movie.  I'm talking about the slimy stuff that causes kids to say, "Eeew"  as though it's the most disgusting stuff in the world.  (And it is.)  But then they beg for more of it!

      You will need:

           Warm water
           3 tsp. Borax
           2 cups of white glue (such as Elmers)
           Food coloring

      Directions:

         1. In a large container, combine 1.5 cups warm water, 2 cups white glue and food coloring.
         2. In a second, smaller container, combine 1-1/3 cups warm water with 3 tsp. Borax.
         3. Mix ingredients in each container thoroughly.
         4. Pour contents of small container into the large container.
         5. Gently lift and turn the mixture until approximately a tablespoon of liquid is left. Flubber will be sticky at first. Let excess liquid drip off. Flubber will then be ready!
         6. Give it to the kids. 

      This recipe makes enough Flubber for six children.

      What do they do with it?  Stretch it, bounce it, roll it.  And, of course, say, "Eeew!"

      Flubber will keep for about three weeks if kept in an airtight container at room temperature.  It is non-edible.  Do not wash it down the drain.  It can be dissolved with white vinegar if it gets on carpet, furniture, clothes, hair, or pets,

      April 6, 2011

      The Date For Easter Sunday

       (photo by Hannamaria, Dreamstime.com)

      (Kitty's looking for a chocolate mouse in her Easter basket!)

      E is for Easter.

      Easter Sunday is the day on the Christian calendar that Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      It can only occur between March 22 and April 25.  Why?  How is the date for Easter determined?

      Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after March 21.  March 21 is the vernal equinox, or the day on which the length of daylight equals the length of darkness.  The first day of Spring is celebrated on the vernal equinox.

      So, First,  vernal equinox (spring), March 21.
            Next, full moon
            Then, Easter Sunday!

      The vernal equinox never changes, so Easter can be between March 22 and April 25, depending on the full moon.

      The last time Easter fell on March 22 (the earliest possible date) was 1818.  That won't happen again until 2285.  If you are reading this now, you will not, in your life time, ever experience Easter on March 22.

      The next time Easter will fall on April 25 (the latest possible date) will be 2038.  Maybe all of us will live to experience Easter in that year.

      But we don't have to wait until then for Easter to be later.  This year, 2011, we will celebrate Easter on April 24.

      April 5, 2011

      Dandelion

      D is for Dandelion.

      My memories of dandelion:

      I remember picking yellow dandelion flowers for my mother, and she was always happy when I gave her the straggly bouquet.  I didn't realize at the time they were just weeds.   Now I am the one on the receiving end of yellow dandelion flowers when my second grade students pick them for me while at recess.  I know now my mother was genuinely happy receiving these weeds, just as I am happy when receiving these precious bouquets  from one of my second graders!  (Photo by Frontisek Chmura, Dreamstime.com)



      I also remember that when the dandelion flowers turned from yellow to white seeds, my sisters and I would blow on them.  You were only allowed one blow.  In theory,  the number of  seeds that remained on the stem indicated the number of children you would have some day.  

      Of course, we cheated!  If there were too many "children" left on the stem, we just blew another time or more until we got the number we thought we wanted.  I  usually blew until there were no "children" left.    (Photo by Roman Jakupov, Dreamstime.com) 


      I  remember picking dandelion greens for dinner.  Want a recipe for a delicious hot bacon dressing?  Check out my article, Hot Bacon Dressing and Dandelion Greens.

      April 4, 2011

      The Cat From Wondrous Story Christian Bookstore

       (photo from Dundanim, Dreamstime.com)

      A-Z Blogging Challenge.  Today's letter is C for cat.  Anyone who knows me had to be pretty sure I would choose "cat".  And they were right.

      Wondrous Story Christian Bookstore has a cat!  Her name is Phoebe, and as you can see by her photo, she is very beautiful.  In her case, beauty does not take the place of brains. Not only is Phoebe beautiful, she is a precociously smart cat, too. I'm sure you can see that by her photo, too.

      Phoebe got her name from an amazing woman in the Bible.  I am going to let Phoebe herself tell you about the origin of her very fitting name.  Over to you, Phoebe!

      Thanks, Ilene!  I got my name from the Bible, Romans 16:1-2. The name Phoebe means "radiant." Phoebe is only mentioned once in the Bible, but she played an important role in the early Church.

      In fact, she is considered an AMAZING WOMAN OF THE BIBLE. Oh, I am so pleased to be named after her, although it does put a bit of pressure on me!

      Here's why!

      1. Phoebe was a follower of Jesus Christ.

      2. She was a sister in the Lord to the Apostle Paul.

      3. She was a deaconess at the local church at Cenchrea, which put her in a position of responsibility.

      4. Phoebe looked after the needs of the other Christians.

      5. She was a business woman in the man's world of the Roman Empire.

      6. Phoebe was entrusted by Paul to carry his precious Book of Romans. Importantly, it was "The Constitution of Christianity" to the Roman Church.

      7. She is known as the one who got the job done. She simply did what she was asked to do.

      Now that you know Phoebe of the Bible a little bit better, I'm sure you can easily see why she made the AMAZING list!

      And, I must humbly add, after you know me a bit better, you will completely understand that I am AMAZING, too!



      I am building my fan club!  Become one of my fans by going to my Facebook page.  Here's the link:  Phoebe, The Wondrous Story Cat   Just click on "Like."  If you are a member of Facebook, you will receive free meows from me.  I write about life, love, dogs, mice, and naps.  Please come along for a fine feline ride!

      April 2, 2011

      Buffalo Wings--You Mean Buffalo Don't Have Wings?

       Day two of A to Z Blog Challenge! Today's  letter is B, for buffalo wings.

      Our second grade class was studying the Lakota  (Sioux)  Native Americans. We were looking at a picture of a buffalo and talking about its many uses by the Sioux.

      One of my second graders looked puzzled and asked, "Where are his wings?" Then she explained, "My dad loves buffalo wings, but I can't see them on the picture."

      You probably already know buffalo wings have absolutely nothing to do with the Plains buffalo--or any buffalo, for that matter! Rather, they were made famous by the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY.

      Buffalo Wings Recipe
      4 pounds chicken wings
      salt (to your taste)
      freshly ground black pepper
      4 cups vegetable oil
      4 tablespoons butter
      5 tablespoons hot sauce (choose the sauce that matches the amount of heat that you want.)
      1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

      Directions: Chop off the tip of each wing and throw away. Cut the rest of the wing at the joint. Sprinkle with black pepper and salt.

      Heat the oil in skillet or deep fryer to about 40 degrees F. Add half the chicken wings and cook until golden crisp; drain. Cook rest of the wings.

      Melt the butter and add hot sauce and vinegar. Stir well and pour over the crispy chicken.






      April 1, 2011

      Art by P. Graham Dunn

      This is my first post in the  A to Z Blogger Challenge.  The challenge is to write a blog post every day during April (excepting Sundays). That's 26 days to match 26 letters of the alphabet.  Each post must be themed according to a letter of the alphabet.

      Being April 1 and the first day of this challenge, I am starting with the letter A.  My theme is Art by P. Graham Dunn.

      Have You heard of  P. Graham Dunn?  Ever seen their artwork?  Heard the family story?  If not, I'm claiming the honor of introducing you to this fantastic family, their story, and art.

      P. Graham Dunn is a family business whose story begins in the 1940's.  Marvin and Miriam Dunn spent most of their lives as missionaries in China under the China Inland Mission.

      When Japan invaded China and the lives of the missionaries were in danger, CIM ordered all their missionaries to be evacuated to India.  Another missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Graham Hutchinson were scheduled to leave China on the same flight as the Dunns.  Unfortunately, there was not enough room for everyone.  Since Miriam Dunn was pregnant, the Hutchinson's gave their seats to the Dunns.

      After the Dunns were safely in India, they found out that the flight carrying the Hutchinsons had crashed and everyone on it had been killed.

      The Dunn's first child was a girl, Rosemary.  Their second child, a boy, was born after it was safe for them to return to China to continue their missionary work.  He was named Peter Graham, after Graham Hutchinson.  Years later when Peter and his wife LeAnna had a son, they also remembered the Hutchinson's by naming their son Thomas Graham Dunn.

      In 1972, Peter and LeAnna opened a home for runaway girls in New York City.  They taught the girls to do woodworking and carve plaques and other gifts that were sold in markets in Greenwich Village.  When Peter and LeAnna's work in New York was done, they transferred the woodworking business to the Dunn farm in Dalton, Ohio.

      In the beginning, every item made was designed by Peter. However, today the business employs a group of workers, all of whom add their ideas and workmanship to the company.  They have made it a point to always remember the sacrifice of  Mr. and Mrs. Graham Hutchinson as well as the missionary work of Peter's parents with the China Inland Mission.  Ultimately, P. Graham Dunn's business mission is to lift up and glorify God.

      You can read more about this Christian business at their website, pgrahamdunn.com.