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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cracked Pots

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'

'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.'

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding...

You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ice Cream Anyone

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day - 3rd Sunday in July

From Holiday Insights:

When you get the urge for a snack on a hot, humid summer night, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? That's right....Ice Cream! Therefore, it's only fitting that ice cream be given it's own special day. On this day, we hope you enjoy an ice cream cone, a sundae, or a milk shake. Set the diet aside and splurge a little...have one of each!

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month. He also established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month.

Ice cream is nutritious. A little heavy on the sugar and calories, ice cream is otherwise good for you. Its base ingredient is milk, which is loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals.

A note from me:

I took my hubby on a mini-date and we ended up at Coldstone Creamery here in Great Falls, MT. It was the first time visiting for both of us. He had a strawberry cheesecake milkshake and I had a Strawberry Sundae Funnel Cake Creation. Out of this world these desserts were!!!

I just signed up on their online site to receive coupons on birthday notices for the whole family. The kids will be excited when their special times roll around.

Speaking of the kids . . . they were a little flustered when we arrived back home telling them of our outing. The question came up as to why we didn't bring them back anything. I told them with 95+ degrees in temperature out of doors and our van with no air conditioning that everything would have been soupy. Maybe next trip!!!

Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter
In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Fold in the blueberries. Pour into greased 9" baking pan (I used round and it worked fine)
This mixture is going to be very thick.
For topping, combine sugars, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl, cut in butter until crumbly (I used a fork and then my hands!) When mixture is crumbly, sprinkle over blueberry mixture. Bake at 375F for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Top with homemade whipped cream.

Gonna have to try this mixture -- someone on Facebook sent it to me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Covering Graffiti

The Great Falls Tribune wrote a piece recently on some very eye pleasing artwork now seen on Central Avenue.

I couldn't help but pull out my digital camera and take a walk with my youngest son to capture some of the colorful views. It was very interesting to get up close and see how pictures and poetry had been included in 10 different artists work.

Avery (11 years old) was a good sport and poised in a way to look like the fish was about to eat him. He is funny as he would do this for me very willingly, but when going to the local ball game, he will not stand by the mascot for a picture. I have even told him that I will stand on one side and he on the other, but no sale.

My favorite artwork was being worked on while we were snapping pictures. I love the swirly characters this lady has created.

One can only hope the artwork will not be tampered with by some unsightly graffiti that was on the temporary walls of this burned construction area.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rhubarb Anyone

Last week I had spoken with my neighbor friend on the phone and mentioned that the rose bush she gave me for my May Day birthday had some lovely blooms not quite open on it. She then came over a day or so later while walking her fluffy pooch and got to chatting while outside.

I had to shoot a picture over to her through Facebook of the sweet first rose. Just beautiful -- which is exactly what the name ROSE means.

While visiting outside my next door neighbor came out of his house and we all spoke briefly. He happened to mention that I should harvest the rhubarb from a plant that comes up every year. Not knowing much about what to do, both neighbors were very instructive on how to harvest and prepare it.

Me being the talkative one in the house, I came indoors and told my husband about the rhubarb. He decided take the project on this weekend and we have ended up with some wonderful strawberry rhubarb pies. While enjoying a piece, Fred told me about how his mother used to make them and family would make special requests of her. It has been a little over a year since she passed away but each of us mention her often.

So here is hoping your summer has some strawberry rhubarb pie in it!!!!

Summer Celebration Craft Shows

I don't know where my mind has been for the past two years since we moved here, but now all of a sudden I am hearing on the radio of surrounding towns celebrating with special festivities on the weekends. We had a blast at the one in Fort Benton last weekend. It concluded with the most spectacular fireworks show I have seen since I was a young child. That is definitely one to return to next year. Unfortunately we missed going to one this weekend in Belt, MT because I accepted an extra work shift to help someone out at work. Now I have heard of one happening this coming weekend in Dutton, MT. We don't know exactly where that is but will be looking it up and maybe taking a little road trip that way.

The crafts that were for sale in Fort Benton were lovely and creative. They were something new and refreshing to see. I like seeing how people come up with some unique ideas. I love looking at painted things since I have somewhat of a fear of picking up a brush and putting it into paint for decor. Don't mind painting walls around the house just don't know about crafting with it.

My daughter, Savannah Rose, was so cute looking at booths with me. At one point she couldn't help but saying "I have found my happy place". I couldn't help being happy with her. Of course it was dolls, fairies, and lovelies as I have pictured here. The artist is Antique Annie from Kalispell, MT.

My husband, Fred, fell in love with the carved bears. He wants one in the future. I will have to keep that in mind as a gift or surprise when funds allow. I love the picture of my son with the bear - couldn't help but joke which is the bear and which is Wynston. The artist is from Victor, MT.

The most interesting items I spotted was some cement molds that looked like bird baths or lawn art made out of rhubarb leaves and sun flowers found in a couples yard. I love the colors they painted their creations. I wouldn't mind having some of those if we ever are able to settle and purchase a home down the road. The artists are from Conrad, MT.

My daughter ended up with a patch of otter fur that she found to be soft. She will probably use it with her dolls or doll house. My youngest son picked out a suede string wolf pendant necklace. I chose to try a magnet iridescent colored bracelet to share with Savannah.

We are loving getting out of the house and exploring, but as of the past 2 days we are in the 90's and things are heating up. Also, the Fort Benton festivities included a community potluck with an auction of lamps to help an organization which provides help to those in Montana with cancer. I loved this lamp pictured. We had to leave before the community pie auction took place but some went as high as $275 a piece. The total raised was $7500 on the pies. Hope they were tasty at those prices!!!

The Stitches Are Flying

A staff at the group home told me last night that she could not believe coming into work the Saturday before how she found the kids up doing their needlework and craft projects could make them so calm and quiet. Then she told me that she would pay money to see our newest resident (a hyper teenage male) sitting doing needlework. This may be my newest challenge, but I think it will have to wait until a certain girl departs the home in a couple of weeks as she is keeping drama alive and well.

The 13 year old boy created the above embroidery piece and I turned it into a tote bag for his 10 year old sister. She is very pleased with it. Now I have to finish her 12 year old sister's project, but I am undecided as to whether a tote bag or a pillow will be the finished product. Tote bags take a little bit longer and more planning to finish.

I made my very first apron for a staff member that was moving to California. The 17 year old girl resident did the giraffe because Shannon loves them and then asked her what she wanted it turned into. An apron was the reply and me being a "Mary Poppins" type person had to rise to the occasion and try to fulfill the request. All in all, I was pleased and will probably do some more exploring on aprons in the future. One thing I did not included on this piece was pockets as time just didn't allow it.

The 13 year old boy resident said his youngest sister liked fairies and princess things. I found this picture online and made it into a pattern for him to embroidery. Wanting to do something different, she was made a draw string purse with a rounded bottom. There are things I would like to do different if I ever attempt another similar design.

This last piece is from the 17 year old girl resident. She has a very up and down relationship with her mother. I did find it very interesting though that when she wanted to start stitching to make something, her mother was the first person on her mind. A big smile came on her face the morning she got up and found her mom's pillow sitting on the table for her to have.

They are wearing me out. Forcing projects to come faster and faster for them. I ended up doing 4 patterns on fabric for each of them with an under the sea theme. This is giving me a break, but I was shown last night that these are mostly completed and today is a new week. Now one wants jungle theme animals to stitch and the other I have talked into making something really pretty for his grandmother as a peace offering to get him back in her good graces and maybe back home sooner.

I also made a smaller floral door knob hanger out of felt for a girl in the home that has a much lower cognition level but wants to be doing projects like the others. I had her work on stitching some on the little item just for decorations. Wish I had remembered to take a picture -- maybe another time. I also was able to purchase her some $1 items that required double sided sticky dots with sequins and plastics gems to be put on preprinted colorful pictures. She was spell bound and determined to keep on working.

These kids are thriving on a sense of accomplishment and on the communication they are getting that is positive while working on their projects and then when finished. I hope it will last long enough for them to remember that feeling and use it to their advantage in the future.

PS: We do get them out of the house on a daily basis with weather permitting -- yesterday we went to a local park and flew my huge frisbee, played with my big bouncy ball and let them climb on the play equipment. Plus, they got to play on a slip and slide the home purchased for them. -- Got to keep them active and busy!!!