Archive for July, 2007

Here’s lookin’ at you kid

I’d like to dedicate one day a week to a topical photo series. This will be a great way for me to practice a hobby I really enjoy while passing on some inspiring photos of places and things you may not experience in your own neck of the woods. I’d be interested in hearing what sort of series interest you so don’t be shy!


Goats have horizontal slit-shaped pupils.


Pregnancy duration is approximately 150 days. Twins are the usual result, as with this litter. Birthing is known as “kidding”.


On Yom Kippur two goats were chosen and lots were drawn for them. One was sacrificed and the other allowed to escape into the wilderness, symbolically carrying with it the sins of the community. From this comes the word “scapegoat”.


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Beans grow on orchids?

Typically I am not a huge fan of store-bought flowers. I love wildflower arrangements but am not a huge “bouquet of roses” fan. I would rather spend time soaking up their sweetness in a garden, and plucking a few pretties for home to remind me of moments spent in their living presence. However, when my hubby brings home an armful of orchids, I can’t help but gush over them. I love selecting the perfect vase, perfect vantage point, and accompanying pieces for each bunch that seem to exude their own personality. The following arrangement found its home in the corner of our family room in a pitcher that never fails to make me think of warm milk splashing into a bowl of Irish oatmeal. Such pleasantries…


Did you know that there are upwards of 17,000 species of orchids in the world (and that is a conservative estimate)?! In fact, the orchid family is the largest family of flowering plants in the world. We are not just talking about variations of color, but the variations of design/shape are amazing. You would never think flowers like some of these even existed! I see God’s handiwork every time I look at an orchid and I think how satisfying it must have been to create so delicate and beautiful a flower. It is as if I can see His hand reaching down and painting the intricate patterns on their petals.

Feast your eyes on some beautiful photos that have resulted through the work of Howard Schatz (first photo on the left) and Greg Allikas (all other photos).


Strangely enough, such a beautiful flower received its name on account of its resemblance to what is known in Greek as the “orchis”. The fashion in which the flower unfolds, typically being a single petal unfolding atop two lateral petals, form the appearance of the aforementioned shape. And while this is all so fascinating, the most interesting tidbit gathered today was the knowledge that the vanilla bean is the fruit of an orchid.


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Maryana Vollstedt, will you be my grandma?



If you have ever owned, borrowed, eaten a recipe from, checked out from the library, or even read a rave review on one of her cookbooks, you may get the same warm and fuzzy feeling I do when I see her name. I came across The Big Book of Casseroles a few weeks ago in the library while trying to find some great recipes to make in large batches and freeze for later meals. I’ve cooked about 5 recipes from this collection and haven’t come across a disappointment – she is amazing! These are the kind of ingredients you actually already have in your home – and the kind of quantity that always leaves room for another guest at the table. These are the kind of tastes and smells that elicit fond memories of dinner at grandma’s house.


I am so excited to try Maryana Vollstedt’s entire line of cookbooks including:


Pacific Fresh ©1995
What’s for Dinner? © 1997
The Big Book of Soups and Stews © 2001
The Big Book of Breakfast © 2003
The Big Book of Potluck © 2003
The Big Book of Easy Suppers © 2005
Meatloaf © 2006
The Big Book of Chicken to be released spring 2008


Thanks to my darling hubby and to my mom for giving me a birth day, I am now the elated owner of this casserole classic. So if you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop on by! With 250 recipes, I’m sure to be cooking one or pulling one out of the freezer that’ll tickle your tastebuds.

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Permanent marker meets its match

  • A white table
  • A portrait of a woman with long black hair
  • A black, Sharpie, permanent marker
  • A spray bottle of water
  • A pair of scissors
  • A tissue box
  • A smudged, scratched, 3-day-old puddle of blackness

There’s the description of the crime scene as I happened upon it today.  I only wished I had taken a photo of it at the time but I was too busy stifling screams and tears that never escaped amidst the myriad of questions that swarmed around my head.

  1. Why did I have permanent markers in the school room?
  2. Why did I tell one of our children that she could use that marker very carefully on the lapdesk only?
  3. Why did I think that was a rational request?
  4. Why did I think that the most damage a pair of scissors could do was cut off a doll’s hair and create countless pieces of confetti on the floor?


 After a classic discipline transference that included lines such as, “Wait until your father sees this!” and “What made you think coloring on the kleenex with marker and then spraying the table with water would remove the stain??”  I resigned myself to the failsafe method – google.  Above you’ll see the results of that search – a white eraser and white toothpaste.

  1. Use white paste, not the gel kind, and simply put a small amount directly onto the wood furniture. With either a soft bristle toothbrush or a soft rag, start making circular motions and rubbing the paste into the marker.
  2. Be patient. You may have to do several applications before the marker is completely removed.
  3. When the paste has basically taken on the color of the marker, wipe clean and then start with step 1 again.

I started and ended with the white eraser and the piece of the table you see in the photo was where the majority of the marker resided and all that remains are the scratch marks from the scissors she used to try and scrape it off when the marker-saturated kleenex failed.  Hopefully this has given you hope for your marker-tatooed furniture if you found this site in desperation.  My advice – take a photo now before the evidence is all gone!

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Game Time!

Stare 3

Last week I made a Goodwill run and happened upon this great game called STARE! Yes, we are “one of those families” that love to play games and Goodwill is the place to find them cheap. Take this one, for instance, it sells retail for $29.99 at places like Target, yet I paid a whole $1.99 for it and it is in like new condition. Above you can check out some examples of the artwork from such sources as Norman Rockwell, DC Comics, Action Comics, old advertisements, product packages, movie posters, and more. I always feel so elementary adding lines like “and more” to a sentence, but sometimes enough is enough and I simply want to get to what’s next.

So, the object of the game is to “stare” at the card you receive for 20 seconds and study as much detail as possible before it is snatched away from you and the interrogations begin. So, go ahead…give it a shot! I have enlarged a single card for your eyes to study – remember, only 20 seconds. Go…


Now, don’t look again and try to answer these questions:


1. You can partially see the man’s reflection in the back mirror. True or False

2. There are three swirls on the box of Cheer. What colors are they?


So, how did you do? Do tell! And to wrap things up with a bit of personal nostalgia – I had to pick this game up as well – for my children, of course!  Do you recognize it? Come on, if you’re a member of Generation X I bet you’ve played it or watched your sister and her friends play it (like my hubby).

Mystery Game

Here is a great resource I found as a result of this game that had all the pieces but no instructions. If it’s a Hasbro game, have no fear – pay the cheaper price and just download the missing instructions.


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