Sunday, August 19, 2012

A lovely bag...

Earlier this summer my mom and I took a weekend trip up to Brainerd.  We are both quilters  and there was a quilt show that was taking place at the high school there.  This was a great excuse for us to head to the quilt show and also check out a quilt shop we had been interested in called Country Fabrics and Quilting.  The quilt show was great - a good selection of vendors and lots of beautiful quilts on display. But the part that I enjoyed the most was heading to the quilt shop.  The entire upstairs was filled with all sorts of fun and funky quilt fabrics.

My mom and I decided to buy a pattern for a cool bag and then get some fun fabrics to make it together.  The pattern is called Classmate by Terry Atkinson.  Mom and I worked on our bags together over several evenings.  The shiny parts on the open bag are actually clear plastic pockets.  Pretty cool, huh?  And check out the fantastic fabrics!  I absolutely love the vibrant colors and funky designs.  I haven't quite decided what I'm going to use it for yet.  Perhaps a sewing bag or I've toyed with the idea of adding a strap to it and using it as a purse.  No matter what I end up using it for, it sure is a lovely bag!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A lovely splash of color...

Have you ever seen a flower quite like this?  It's so beautiful!  The amazing colors, the star-shaped buds in the middle, the delicate little's absolutely lovely!  I am amazed that God pays attention to even the tiniest of details - this whole flower was about the size of a silver dollar.  I just wish I knew what it was called so I could get some next summer.  Does anyone know what kind of flower this is?  Please let me know if you do!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A lovely pickled beet...

In the last few years I have come to love pickled beets.  They are kind of an acquired taste, but they have totally grown on me and any time I have them it's like a special treat.  I've been getting vegetables this summer as part of a CSA and a few weeks ago golden beets were in the box along with an assortment of other veggies.  I spent some time looking online for pickled beet recipes.  I also called my grandma to see if she had a recipe.  I ended up with a combination of Grandma's recipe along with some that I found online.  Here's what I did:

Boil beets with the skin on until you can easily poke a fork into them. (I used Golden beets, but I'm sure this will work for purple beets as well.) Take them out of the water and remove the skins. You should be able to slide the skins off without trouble after they are boiled. Slice the beets into bite sized pieces. Now boil equal parts water, sugar and vinegar (I did 1 cup each) until the sugar is all dissolved. Then I added spices - I used mustard seed, peppercorn, and a cinnamon stick. I put all the spices into a piece of cloth and tied the corners and placed into the boiling liquid for a few minutes. Then I poured the liquid over the beets in a bowl (I used a glass bowl so the beet juice wouldn't stain anything) I also put the cloth of spices into the bowl as well. Then I put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I discarded the cloth of spices.

I've got to be honest, I was pretty proud of my domestic skills and how the beets turned out.  These beets tasted lovely!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A lovely sunset...

A couple of weeks ago I was up north at a friend's cabin for a few days.  The sunsets there are amazing with the reflection of the sun and clouds on the water.  There is something special about how sunsets look when you are away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  God sure is an amazing painter, isn't he?!?  A picture doesn't capture it's full beauty, but this sunset was exceptionally lovely...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A lovely refreshment....

I just got home from Zumba class on this hot and humid day.  I already sweat more than my fair share, and with the heat and humidity the sweat is just dripping off me!  I wanted something refreshing to drink to help me cool down.  So I made an orange julius from a recipe that my friend Emily introduced me to a few weeks ago.  It is so yummy!

Here's the recipe for you to try!

Orange Julius
from Emily P.
-6 oz. can frozen orange juice
-1 c. milk
-1 c. water
-10 ice cubes
-1/4 c. sugar

Combine all ingredients in a blender until the ice cubes are crushed.  Enjoy this lovely drink!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A lovely garden

I have grand plans to someday have beautiful flower gardens.  Unfortunately, springtime is the time to get the garden started and it's also an insanely busy time of year at school, which doesn't leave much time for gardening.  So that means that my flower gardens are neglected and just sort of grow any which way they'd like and tend to be an overgrown combination of flowers and weeds.  I like to think of them as 'whimsical'!

In the back of my house I have a trellis where I have tried over the years, not very successfully, to grow clematis.  This year I bought two new clematis plants to add to the one I already have to bulk up the foliage on the trellis.  The two new plants have been growing well so far, and just a few days ago I finally got my first blooming flower!  It's a beautiful deep purple with tinges of magenta on the tips.  Gorgeous!  I'm always amazed at the intricate details of a flower.  It reminds me that God has thought of even the most minute of details.  Hopefully I'll get a few more flowers this year so this lone flower can have some lovely company!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lovely things kids say...

So I've been teaching summer school this week for kids that will be entering 1st grade.  I love spending some time with the little ones because they say some pretty stinkin' hilarious things.  Today one of the little boys in my class who is from Africa had a little piece of wood in his mouth (I think it came from the woodchips on the playground).  I asked him to spit it out and he said it tasted like 'nugget chickens.'  That's right, nugget chickens.  All of the other kids thought it was a riot and they all started repeating 'nugget chickens' and rolling on the floor.

And yesterday one of the cutest little Somali girls ever was telling me about her upcoming tennis lessons.  We were talking about what she planned to wear to her lesson.  She said she would get to choose, but no matter what she wore she hoped there would be a changing room because 'no one wants to see my privates.'

I'm sure that there will be many more lovely and hilarious things that these kiddos will say over the next 3 weeks of summer school! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A lovely evening for a walk...

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day!  The kind of day that we spend all winter in Minnesota waiting for - sun shining, slight breeze, white puffy clouds floating through the air.  Perfect.  I spent the afternoon at my parent's house sitting on the deck enjoying the beautiful weather.  When I arrived back home this evening I decided to take a walk along the parkway that is right behind my house.  I can overlook the fact that I hardly have a backyard at all (only a 4 foot by 6 foot patch of plants on either side of my driveway) because I have such close access to one of the best features of the Twin Cities, the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway.  This combined bike and walking path winds its way 50 miles around Minneapolis.  I am so fortunate that just a few steps from my driveway I can enjoy a lovely tree lined walk whenever I'd like!  I hope to spend time this summer exploring more of this pathway.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A lovely ending...

Tonight was my last night of BSF for the year.  BSF stands for Bible Study Fellowship, which is an international organization with men's, women's and young adult's Bible studies.  Every Tuesday night since last September I have been meeting with other young adults throughout the Twin Cities to study the Bible and worship together.  Our topic this year was the book of Acts, although we ended up going through many other New Testament books as well.  I found the group of girls that I met with to be a great source of knowledge and encouragement as we studied and prayed together.  I learned so much about being bold in my faith and living a lifestyle that glorifies God.  I even filled an entire composition notebook with notes from the lectures I heard each week! 

The last note in my composition notebook - it says it all!

It's always a tricky thing to come to the end of something.  One part of me is glad that I'll get my Tuesday nights back again, while the other part of me is sad that another season of my life is over.  This summer I'll miss the regularity of meeting each week, but at least I'll have my 32 weeks worth of lovely notes to look through and learn from again!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A lovely remodel...

My bathroom (sans shower) just after
 being painted.
I've lived in my house for close to 8 years now, and for 7 of those years my house did not have a shower.  Yes, that meant that every day instead of hopping into a refreshing shower I was filling the tub with lukewarm water, just like a little kid.  I finally had had enough this last fall and decided I was finally ready to take the plunge and remodel the bathroom to incorporate a shower.  Thankfully, I was able to hire one of my brothers to do the remodeling for me. 

All the 'stuff' in my living room.

The first day of the project began on my first day of school with students.  I left that morning with my house in perfect order and returned that afternoon to remodeling chaos!  My organized self had a real hard time with all the 'stuff' involved in remodeling.

What I came home to on the first
day of school.
Since this is my only bathroom, I ended up washing my hair in the kitchen sink each day and heading to my parent's house for showers.  Kind of crazy for the first few weeks of school!  The remodel took about 2 and a half weeks, so that meant a lot of trips to my parent's house!

My lovely new shower!
It was well worth the frustration, though, because after all the dust was vacuumed up, the paint touched up, and the grout was dry, I ended up with a lovely remodeled bathroom including a SHOWER!

Every morning as I step into my warm shower I take a deep breath and remind myself how thankful I am for this new addition to my home.  I have yet to take a bath again since getting my shower....and I don't plan to any time soon!