We’ve been staying at our St. Helens, Oregon home for about a month. Waiting for the birth of our fourth grandchild!
We’ve had lots of rain, some foggy mornings.
Some foggy days.
And more rain.
A little sunshine….
….and more rain.
I needed a mood-lifter.
Just a little something to cheer up the day.
Not chocolate and not wine…not food or drink.
Something to look at…
I asked My Sweet Husband to pick up a few fresh flowers at the local grocery store.
Now, we’ve been married 45 years (on January 28th) and we’re still struggling with definitions.
He calls this a few:
I call this a lot!
But, we have several vases filled with lovely flowers.
An uplifting gift of cheery colors and aromas…..
And we had a good laugh!
This is what happens when grandparents babysit right before the holidays!
An unsuspecting daughter and son-in-law dropped off their eight month old son so Grandpa and Nammer could watch him.
The old couple conspired to have a little fun….they stripped the little guy down to his diapers, drew circles on his tummy while he rolled and giggled. Added a little red circle on his nose. (All with washable markers) Found a black top hat, retrieved a red scarf, grabbed the camera and had their own photo shoot…
And then…Nammer shared the pictures on this blog and on Facebook…
May your Christmas be merry and bright and may you be blessed….
I am the mother of a first grader who bounded down the steps of the school bus on the first day of December and within minutes was killed in a hit and run. The murderers were never found.
This was over thirty years ago…but NOT a day goes by that my heart and arms don’t ache to hold him once again.
Listening to reports of the recent school shooting tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut my heart feels as if it’s being shoved through a paper shredder over and over. I go about the day misty eyed…
…knowing and feeling the gut wrenching, inexplicable physical pain of losing a child.
…knowing the journey of grief is long, grueling and never really over.
…knowing grief is a very personal journey…there is no right or wrong way to ride this rollercoaster…(unless a coping mechanism becomes unhealthy and inflicts suffering on another).
…knowing emotions are unpredictable…the anger, the despair, the fear, the tears for hours on end.
And, yet, “my heart in its sorrow rejoices,” recalling the kindnesses, the gentleness and the support of so many…family, friends and strangers reaching out with their reassurance of love and understanding.
The world is full of caring, loving people who want very much to help but are often unsure about the best way to show their concern.
I remember a few precepts that were and still are especially meaningful and offer them as a guide to those reaching out to grieving parents:
1. Please don’t ignore my painful loss. Saying nothing hurts worse than saying the “wrong thing” with sincerity. Some helpful phrases: “I’m sorry.” “I don’t know what to say, but I really care.”
2. Let me talk about my beloved, if I want to. Let me talk about how he died. Don’t be afraid to say his name. Share a memory if you want to.
3. Sit with me in silence. Sometimes words are absolutely useless. Squeeze my hand, hold my hand, pat my shoulder…give me a hug…cry with me. Look me in the eye…please don’t be afraid of my sorrow, of my tears.
4. Please don’t tell me you know how I feel! No, you don’t! We can never know how another feels…but ask me how I feel. And don’t tell me it’s part of God’s plan or that he’s in a better place.
5. Certain times of the year will always be hard for me….like all holidays! Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And most every family milestone tugs at my heart…births, children’s birthday parties, graduations, and weddings.
It’s true…. love never dies…memories of my child are alive and well in my mind and the hole in my heart will only be completely mended the day I am reunited with my beloved child.
But I have been encouraged and sustained by your friendship, your care, your support and help. May you be blessed!
Wonderful song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqwomT5YSiw
I wandered around the kitchen with my cuppa tea, opening a cupboard door, staring at the contents inside. I gently pushed it closed. I opened the refrigerator. Examining the shelves, pulling open drawers, searching for what, I wasn’t sure.
I was wishing for a little something “special” to have with my cuppa.
Searching in an old magazine, a great quick bread recipe and photo grabbed my attention. I made a few changes, mixed, stirred and baked… and voila…the answer to my craving came out of the oven filling the whole kitchen with a delicious aroma.
This key lime bread is sweet and slightly tart, perfect with a nice cup of English Breakfast. Hope you enjoy!
- ⅔ cup butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons grated lime peel
- 3 Tablespoons Key Lime Juice or fresh lime juice
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour~all purpose flour works great
- 3 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup chopped nuts: pecans, walnuts or almonds
- ⅔ cup confectioners' sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons Key Lime Juice or fresh lime juice
- In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Add lime peel, lime juice and vanilla and mix until combined.
- In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture alternating with the milk. Fold in nuts.
- Spoon batter into two greased 9 x 5 x 3 in loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack.
- Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely. Enjoy one with tea, freeze one for later!
- Happy Tea-Time!
My new all time favorite quote…and I made it up myself after a particularly harrowing week….
When life hands you a lemon, cut it up, make tea, take a break and meditate!
So, you probably guessed that my day/week/month was less than auspicious . I’m sure you’ve had those days, weeks, months….hopefully not years…when “it” goes from bad to worse.
When no matter how much or how hard or how long you’ve prayed, “things” just aren’t working out. That proverbial lemon drops from the sky, misses your skull, but lands in YOUR lap …uninvited, unwanted, and uncompromising.
Now, a whole lemon is only useful for decoration or zesting.
And if not consumed, deterioration ensues.
My solution: Cut it up…make a cuppa tea….take a break….and meditate.
A sliced lemon bursting with tartness suggests possibilities.
A problem carved up, divided, chopped and diced reveals solutions.
Tea is my respite in life. The ritual of boiling water, placing whole tea leaves in an infuser, steeping and then sipping the brew is my hiatus from chaos. In suspending reality for moments, the impossible is diluted, the possible clarified and I remind myself there are better days ahead!
Have a tea-lightful day….and remember…cut that lemon up, make a cuppa, take a break and meditate!
I had to share this adorable video…..Maddie Grace Sings Lemon Drop
If you love tea like I do, you’re always on the prowl for fun ways to enjoy tea! I like to experiment with blends of teas and fruits..dried fruits, tea in recipes and tea in beverages!
Smoothies~the homemade or handcrafted variety are especially adaptable and can be HEALTHY too!
I tried one made with Chai tea recently. Light and refreshing…and of course, I immediately thought of other ingredients to test with this tea in making a smoothie. Let me know if you’ve found some great tea smoothie combinations!
My Chai-Tea Smoothie…the “skinny” version:
My Chai-Tea Smoothie…the “not so skinny” version:
Recipe for My Chai-Tea Smoothie:
1 cup Chai tea~~ steeped and chilled
1/2 cup milk~~my favorite is Almond Vanilla milk
but you could choose another kind or use what you have on hand…
1/2 cup Greek yogurt…I like to use Vanilla or plain
1 ripe banana…fresh or frozen
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Light and refreshing..and you get to have your tea too!!
In the summer, at our house, there were always two pitchers of iced tea in our refrigerator. One of them, my mother referred to as ” Your Father’s Tea” (meaning sweet tea–southern style) and the other was, regular plain iced tea, no sugar. These were the two choices available. My mother made the iced tea from tea bags, although our neighbors used that very modern, “Instant Tea”. ( You can taste the difference).
Growing up in the ’60’s, I started making sun tea in the summertime, and have continued the practice. Now, however, warnings about bacteria that can grow in sun tea may cause me to consider it a “Steep Risk” http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/suntea.asp.
If any of us got sick from sun tea, I didn’t know it. I probably blamed some other “germ” or even
decided that a small child must have shared his illness.
The popularity and availability of a wide variety of flavored black and green teas has greatly increased my iced tea choices. (See list below for teas that are excellent iced). Magnificent Mango, quite popular in our tea room, competed with Arctic Raspberry and Shanghai Lime (photo) as favorites for iced teas. My iced tea choices are not limited to tea bags, instant tea, sweetened or unsweetened. …..I can celebrate incredible abundance !
Oregon Street Tea Company‘s Great Iced Tea Recipe:
For 2 quarts (1/2 gallon)
* In a 6 cup teapot, place an infuser filled with 12 teaspoons of tea.
* Fill the teapot with water heated to 195 degrees.
* Brew 5 minutes.
* In a 2 quart container fill 1/2 with ice.
* Pour tea over ice.
* Add cold water if needed to make 1/2 gallon of great iced tea !
The following teas are delicious iced:
Black Flavored Teas:
Cranberry Breeze or Cranberry Orange
Wild Cherry Blast
Green Flavored tea:
Strawberry Fields Forever
The Very Popular “Arnold Palmer” http://www.arnoldpalmertee.com/news.asp
Fill a glass with ice and add:
1/2 black tea (brewed)
1/2 Lemon slice to decorate the rim of the glass
Very Refreshing !
Hawaiian Iced Tea
Make 2 quarts of Oregon Street Tea Company’s Great Iced Tea
1 can (16 oz) pineapple juice
1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
Refrigerate until chilled.
Garnish with fresh pineapple spears and serve
Simple Syrup: ( You can also purchase this)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Cool.
Happy Iced Infusions !