February 28, 2012

Fancy Clothespins!

Because we need a little more color in our lives...

Find a magazine with quality paper, and look for color!  Using very sharp scissors, cut strips to match the size of the clothespins.  Note that standard clothespins are pretty cheap and you will have to pick through and toss a few.  Not all are cut squarely.  Glue and finish with ModPodge for Outdoors.  That sealant makes these waterproof, but because I didn't care for the shiny, tacky-rubber feeling, I added another coat of matte finish, water-based varnish.

February 27, 2012

The Kitchen Sink

Oh, there is so much ordinariness about us.  Mostly, it goes unnoticed. But today I stopped and smiled at a job well done - a clean sink.  So plain, so white, and so clean!  I love that!

To have a clean dishcloth means I have enough laundry done to get me through the day.  And to have a clean sink means the dishes are done.  Woohoo!

Yes, I realize I need to get out more.

February 24, 2012

German Chocolate Cake Muffins

OK, hold yourself together -  I just found the world's best German Chocolate recipe on the face of this earth.  This is heavenly stuff, fit for kings!!!!  They stay fresh for a long time, even improving with time.  But good luck trying to let that happen - they will disappear in a heartbeat.

German Chocolate Cake  (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
3/4 c. cocoa
1-1/4 c. boiling water
2 c. sugar
2 c. unbleached flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. canola oil
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Dissolve cocoa in boiling water.  Cool.  Then mix everything together.  (See, this is my kind of recipe!)  It will be on the runny side.  Pour into 9x13 glass baking dish.  If making muffins, use tulip muffin tin liners and fill up to the rim of the muffin tin. Makes exactly 12 muffins. Bake @ 350° x 30-35 mins.

Coconut Pecan Frosting  (adapted from a million internet recipes)
1-1/4 c. pecans, chopped
1 c. sugar
1 c. evaporated milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes

When cake is removed from oven, turn off heat. Place pecans on baking sheet and toast in warm oven for 10 mins.
Mix all ingredients except pecans and coconut in a large saucepan.  Be sure egg yolks are mixed in well so you don't end up with scrambled eggs in your frosting.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for ~8-10 mins until it begins to thicken.  Remove from heat, add pecans and coconut.  Pray that it cools quickly and you have time to frost the cake, thus reducing the opportunity to eat it straight out of the pan.

February 23, 2012

Art Studio

It was another good afternoon with our son.  While I only dabble in art, he is a real artist.  His studio was delightful.  Not because it is what I would want, but because I know that is where so much creativity, thought, hard work, and ideas come together for him.

I can see that the boy needs a good care package of food.

February 22, 2012

Lap Dog

No small dogs for this hunter!  No, sir.  But size does not keep Miss Elsie from thinking she's a lap dog. When the daily work and chores outside are finished, it's time for a good rest.  My goodness, this dog is devoted to him.

I had to grab my cell phone to record this.

February 21, 2012

The Beauty of Boring

You might think it a shame to post such ugly pictures.  Truly, the drive was an endless day of cold rain and gloomy skies.  There was very little to look at, no inspiration, no color.  Bleak. Bleak. Bleak. But sometimes it's all in how you view it.  It was hard not to notice how deliciously warm the inside of the car was.  No distractions made for a safe drive.  And the best part of it was that it was just the two of us, with nothing but quiet hours to talk.  We connected, shared, laughed, and enjoyed each other's company.  Quality time, the stuff books are written about.  And the destination - to see my favorite boy - was worth every minute.  No complaints.

February 20, 2012

Presidents Holiday

Today we honor our first president of the United States, George Washington.

And from what I read, there was a good woman behind the man.  Martha wrote to her friend Mercy Otic Warren, "I cannot blame him for having acted according to his ideas of duty in obeying the voice of his country...I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the great part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."  

February 17, 2012

Herbed Skillet Bread

Nothing like a new library book to add a little inspiration to your day.  I found an entire book on cast iron cooking with lots of real recipes that normal people can use. =)

Last night I tried the skillet bread.  I'm not posting the recipe, as I wasn't particularly fond of so much olive oil and salt, but I'm happy to report that the yeast worked beautifully, the rosemary start in the front had enough growth to spare a twig, and the skillet was as nonstick as they come. With a few adjustments next time around, this bread will be friend-worthy!

The yeasty dough with garlic slices smelled delicious and we were ravenous by the time it came out of the oven.  So as usual, there is only a "before" picture.  You'll have to trust me that it looked divine!

February 16, 2012

Honduras, April 2012

Varying from my usual reflections and comments, I am eager to spread the word about something very exciting!  Once again I have the privilege of being part of a medical missions team through Hope Teams International (HTI). This year we will be working with two main groups of people: the orphans and surrounding community in Talanga, and the Lencan Indians, who live in the mountains close to El Salvador. Most of those we will treat are impoverished with extremely limited access to medical care – their needs are so great.

The conditions will be primitive at times, and we will be working long hours in the heat.  (I am enjoying my running water and electricity up till the last minute!)  We are prepared to encounter small things like lice, scabies, and intestinal friends, and will take extra precautions to avoid malaria and Dengue fever. But we gladly go.  The people are so appreciative, and without exception, all of us last year felt we received more than we gave.

It is an interesting experience to work without the usual equipment, labs, diagnostic tools, and fancy treatments.  It’s pretty much just our eyes, ears, hands, stethoscopes, otoscopes, and as many supplies as we can stuff into our luggage! It feels a bit “old fashioned” and raw, but we bring a wealth of knowledge, ingenuity, and human touch to bring healing and relief.

Many of you have expressed an interest in being a part of this work, so I’m happy to share several practical ways to help:

1.    If you live in the Portland area and can gather supplies, we are in need of the following basic health and hygiene items.  Please note that we can use opened packages and partial bottles of meds as long as they are clean and in good condition. 

*   Vitamins:  adult, children, prenatals, with and without iron, gummies fine
*   Pain relievers: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, adult and children
*   Ointments/creams: hydrocortisone, triple antibiotic, antifungal, antihistamine
*   Antacids
*   Eye drops: artificial tears, allergy
*   Antihistamines
*   Toothbrushes: adult and children
*   Soap bars:  any size, unscented or light scent only
*   Washcloths
*   Sanitary napkins: ultrathin only
*   Nonsterile gloves
*   Bandaids and bandages: all sizes

2.  If you would like to contribute money, you can make a tax-deductible donation at http://www.hopeteams.org/#/ways-to-give.  By selecting the link under “5. Financial”, you will be routed to PayPal.  During the payment process you can designate “Honduras Nancy”.  Money will go towards basic expenses (transportation, food, etc.) and medical supplies.  All unused supplies we bring in will be left in the country.

3.  Prayer – We recognize that Divine assistance is imperative!  As a team we ask for prayer for safety and strength. Personally, I also ask for wisdom in making preparations and plans.  I will be acting as clinic director, and that involves many decisions both in the field and here in the states.  And I would be remiss in not asking for smooth times back home with the family while I am gone. 

Thank you, thank you for your friendship, interest, and support.  You are appreciated beyond measure!

February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

So far, our day has been more about real love vs. a warm and fuzzy holiday.  It has been about managing a crying, barking, wild puppy who didn't want to sleep all night.  It has been about sacrificing sleep for the other person.  It has been about building a fire so the house is warm, and faithfully getting ready for work.

Perhaps chocolate hearts are yet to come.  =)

February 13, 2012

It's a Garden Date

We walked into a nursery (plants, not babies) and I thought I might just go crazy.  Was it because it was an afternoon date with Prince Charming?  A bump to the head?  Spring fever?  We bought some wonderful-looking seeds (yup, the pictures hooked me) and I left wondering how I could invent a summer holiday requiring gifts. I would ask for seed packets of every kind and rose bushes.

February 10, 2012

A Sloth

Lack of exercise.

{{{Heavy sigh.}}}

Time to get moving!

  Photo straight from Wikipedia, as there is a striking lack of sloths in my own back yard.  Perhaps I should be looking on the couch.  In the mirror? 

February 8, 2012


How could I have missed the ferns?!  They're popping out all over.  What is it about the sun that makes you notice more??

But now the skies have darkened again and the rains are pouring down.  It is easier, though, knowing that a new season is in store.  Hope!

February 7, 2012

The Rhubarb Is Coming! The Rhubarb Is Coming!

My mouth is already "zipping" in anticipation...
Rhubarb pie, rhubarb bread, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb jam, and rhubarb raisin chutney are just around the corner!

February 6, 2012


It's incredible what a few days of sunshine does for nature.  I keep discovering new growth everywhere, which means my eyes are always on the lookout.  It is gloriously distracting. =)

For those lucky enough to have daphne, run!  Pick a sprig, place it in a rosebud vase, set it in a favorite spot, and start waiting in anticipation.  And if you've got extra, share some with a friend.

Within a couple of days we shall be surrounded by a heavenly fragrance.  Better than Hawaii!

February 3, 2012

Signs of Spring!

Spring is coming!!  Look what I discovered this morning!!

The chives are popping up.

And the honeysuckle on the chicken coop is budding!