Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Review 2013... #10 Mourning Song by Joyce Landorf

I am not going to do a review of this book using my "usual" format.  It really didn't lend itself to that, more because of the subject matter than its structure.

This was a very difficult book for me to read largely because it was written about the author's experiences with her mother's death.  That is a difficult subject for me and, frankly, I just didn't want to visit those emotions this past summer. 

There are 2 primary reasons why I will not be recommending this book.
#1  I found some of the author's insights to be a bit too simplistic.  Grief is so complicated.  Perhaps I felt that way because of my own resistance to  go deeper into it, but that is my impression.
#2  Near the end of the book the author suggests that the only way to complete our healing of grief is to forgive God for allowing our loved ones to die.  Everything in me rejects that!  God cannot do anything that is unrighteous that needs to be forgiven!  

So there you have it.  I'm sure there are much better books than this on dealing with grief.  If I stumble upon one, I'll let you know.  The good news is that now I have a book that I can use the pages to practice some of those nifty book page crafts with!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Spicy Pickle Dip

I like dill pickles.  I like moderately spicy stuff.  I like dippy stuff.  So when I stumbled upon a recipe for spicy dill pickle dip I said to myself, "Self, you must try this."  I don't really call myself "Self".  But I do talk to myself.  But that isn't the point.  The point is, I knew immediately that I wanted to try this stuff.  ON stuff.  Stuff on Stuff.  MAH FAVORITE! 

The recipe looked too creamy for my preference and the type of pickles it used are unavailable in this area, so I made an executive decision and scrapped it, creating my own.  I'm not usually such a rebel with recipes the first time I make them but since I would be serving this to guests, I wanted it to be as more to our liking.  So I tested small batches and came up with a good pickle-to-creamy ratio.

I served Spicy Pickle Dip at an Indoor Picnic with chips.  It was a hit with those of us who like dill pickles.  Not so much for the ones who don't.  And that is a fair assessment.  You really do need to like dill pickles to appreciate it. You can read about the Indoor Picnic HERE

As I said, I served the dip with chips.  I don't eat chips on a regular basis so I knew I would be trying it on other stuff... and had great results.  I hope you make it for yourself.  You know, if you like pickles.  Feel free to hack it and tell me what you think! 
yield: approximately 3 cups
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
24 oz. baby dills, drained, juice reserved
2 heaping Tablespoons diced jalapenos (from a jar, not fresh)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Grate dill pickles or otherwise process 'til finely chopped.   Add cream cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, and garlic powder.  Mix well.  Add enough reserved pickle juice to make desired consistency. (See note**)  Chill for several hours.  Serve with assorted dippers:  potato chips, fried pork rinds (chicharones sounds so much better!), various raw veggies, fried chicken wings, etc.
**The first time I made this I stirred it together.  I needed to add juice to make it dip-ish.  The second time I made it I processed it all in my food processor and didn't add any and it was a little on the runny side.  Perfect for a thick salad dressing!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Odds & Ends in July

I am publishing this a day late because I forgot to have my husband read it last night.  He likes to be the first person to read everything I write so he gets the final read-through before I publish.  He's a polite critic!

I can hardly believe that it is July 31st already.  Where has the time gone?  It has gone so fast that it completely slipped my notice and I had to throw this together last minute.   

If I had to sum July up in one word other that "fast", it would be "rain".  Rain, rain, rain.  So much rain that huge portions or our lawn are brown from being boiled to death (it was HOT).  So much rain that a minor malfunction in our sump pump cause our basement to flood.  We had about a half dozen fans going in our living room and guest room to dry out the carpet.  So much rain that some of my potted plants actually drowned.

One plant that thrived with all the rain... my hydrangea.  Its blooms range from almost white to purple to blue.  Here is a pretty pink one.

A friend and I went to get pedicures together.  This is only the second one I've ever had done professionally.  It was nice!  Yes, I have a tattoo on my foot.  Poor quality, I know, and I may get it fixed one day.  Or I may just leave it as is.  The guy doing my pedicure was rather curious about it and asked me if I regret getting it now that I am "older".  I remember laughing because I got it when I was "older" (40) but I don't remember what I said.

I make sun tea almost every day for both my daughter and me.  She changes up the flavor of hers, currently lemon, but I use a mixture of hibiscus and green.  Hibiscus is shown to lower blood pressure.  In just 4 weeks mine went down by 9 points (bottom number).  So I'm sticking with it!

This is a picture of me and my twin grandsons, Levi and Liam, at a church function.  Those little guys bring me so much joy!

 Liam wearing Auntie Bia's glasses...

Summer bring the bugs!  I used to love these snapping bugs when I was a kid.  I let it snap at me a couple times, then out the door it went!

 I've done a bit more glass etching but it is so hard to see in the pictures I take.  I need photography lesson, I suppose.  This green olive oil bottle has 4 flat sides on which I etched these small embellishments.  Perfect to display dill cuttings.

 We had a crab feast when we had a guest staying with us.  He wasn't overly fond of the "ripping them apart" process but gave it a good try!  My son made up for it by picking 24 of them!  Since we bought a bushel of them, we had plenty left over to make crab cakes a couple nights later.  Bless my husband's heart, he did all the leftover picking.  He earned a big 'ol "Attaboy!" for that one.

These are my 2 puppies.  I call them puppies even though they are 13 and 14 years old. Maggie (short hair) is the older sister.  Penny is the younger.  They are full sisters from separate litters but that is where all similarity between them ends.  They began their life together hating each other.  Maggie now just tolerates the indignity that Penny forces her to endure.

So that's my July.  As always, the Odds & Ends of pictures barely scratch the surface of the Odds & Ends of life.  Beginnings and Endings.  Ups and Downs.  They are all there.  All these things add up to make my life.  And I am content.