Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beach Art

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A Gorgeous Profile

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Mom, Help!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Visting Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore

For info on Mt. Rushmore, click here.

For info on the more impressive Crazy Horse Memorial, click here. This place was a piece of history in action...a work in progress. It had a peacefulness about it and the presence of the American Indian Lakota men and women speaking to the tourists and working on their crafts was engaging and educational.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Thanks, Jill

You've been there through the major and minor firsts in this family's life. First steps, first sacraments, first plane ride, first days on this beautiful earth.

You intercede for us. You offer reason, wisdom, understanding and truth in the good times and the bad.

You provide good humor, good food, good hospitality, good taste.

You've been a traveling buddy, the best of the best babysitters out there, single most contributor to our children's library (with poignant and insightful inscriptions for each child), a faithful godmother.

You gave us up as next door neighbors, gracefully.

You live a healthy, good and pure lifestyle. You are a role model for my children and me.

You (and your amazing spouse) life selflessly and generously.

You live for the kingdom in big and small ways.

You give to give. You don't expect anything in return.

You blessed me with a great gift.

Twins v. Yanks.

Mr. 600 Home Runs v. Mr. 3,000 Hits.

Thanks, Jill.

Your friendship is priceless.

Even though they got slaughtered, it was totally worth the trip to the park.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Newlywed Gift Idea

Day by day, little by little I am slowly taking control of piles of papers, clothes in the closet corners, household items past their prime, and crammed, sagging dresser drawers.

One paper pile I am working on contains an article in the local paper that featured a cook book for newly married couples and some basic tips and advice for starting your cooking adventure. I saved the article with the intention to write about it here and as the beginning of a new series, Great Gift Ideas.

I really like thinking ahead to gifts that will bless the receiver and honor the occasion. When possible with my life's schedule, I add some kind of homemade element to the gift. It might just be the card, but I like to add a personal touch.

Back to the article...

It caught my attention with the title of the book and this advice from the wife of the author team, "Get in the kitchen, begin with simple meals and practice. Don't be overly ambitious. Work your way into things. Good results will encourage you to keep cooking."

Advice worth noting, in my experience. I believe the simplest dishes, done well, are worth eating, enjoying and using for entertaining.

The article also includes some gadget recommendations and basic dos and don'ts when approaching cooking as a novice.

Of the five essential tools suggested for every cook's kitchen, I own four. The fifth tool, one that I have craved for years, is an enameled cast iron dutch oven. I am convinced I would use it regularly especially in the fall and winter months (months which my 10 year old are convinced are fast approaching.) I am still enjoying the hot, slow days of summer, thank you.

Just Married and Cooking is the book's title. Visit the authors' website here for more ideas.
As they say, "Lots of bacon, wine and late nights went into this cookbook… and our first year of marriage. So just think of this as our year as newlyweds remembered in food, documented in recipes and brought to life by a whole bunch of gorgeous photos. "

Pair the book with a recommended gadget/tool and you have a great gift on hand for the next couple! Maybe you embroider a dish cloth to go with the book, sew an oven mitt or sew an apron. Or, maybe in the card, you simply offer some cooking advice of your own or include a favorite recipe from your own kitchen.

Whatever you choose, know that even the smallest personal touch is often greatly appreciated and remembered over years and years.