Wednesday, June 29, 2011


When my boys were teenagers, they spent a month doing short-term missions work in Brazil. They truly loved the people, the culture, and the food. While they were there, one of the foods they ate regularly was Brazilian beans and rice. Though happy to be home after a long journey, they found themselves craving this dish that they had enjoyed so much.

Shortly after, I had occasion to meet a Brazilian girl who was working in the States as an au pair. She was terribly homesick. One of the things she missed was being able to prepare food from her homeland. How fortuitous! To make a long story short, we got together and she taught me how to make her "mommy's" recipe. It was a win-win situation and a wonderful evening of food and fellowship. It's been a family favorite for years. There must be a million variations on this dish. Here's the way we make it:

4 cups of pinto beans soaked overnight
3 green peppers
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
salt pork

When you're ready to cook, drain the beans and pour them into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cover them with fresh water. To keep it easy, I chop the peppers, onion, and garlic together in a food processor. I used 2 pablanos and a sweet pepper because that's what I had on hand. Add them to the pot with the water and the beans, along with a hunk of salt pork. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender. Serve over rice. Garlicky broccoli rabe makes a nice accompaniment.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And carry on

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." So says Bilbo Baggins in the LOTR movie. And being a hobbit of the Tookish sort, I agree.

Counting blessings

410 - A day of baking and chatting with my friend and history buff Steph from World Turn'd Upside Down.

411 - things that grow

412 - road trip

413 - misty mountains

414 - destinations

415 - roadside cafes

416 - coconut creme heaven

417 - the end

Joining Ann today

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jam Session

My husband is an amazing musician. Our sons like to brag that he can play more instruments than most men have had hot meals.

He's passed down the music gene to all our children. They certainly didn't get it from me. Apart from appreciation, I have no musical ability whatsoever, even after a few years of piano lessons. It just wasn't happenin'.

No worries. My passions to create lie elsewhere. So while my family fills the house with music, I do some jamming of my own.

With fake book in hand (hey, when you live with musicians, you pick up the lingo!), I'm ready to rock

A good conductor is a master of measures and timing

tapping my toes to the beat of the boil

hot rhythm section to add sizzle

Crescendo to a stirring finale

The maestro lives for the castanet-like snap of a well-sealed jar

To quote one of my favorite vocalists, Mama Cass Elliot, "You gotta make your own kind of music" :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

And the livin' is easy

"Tell you what I like the best --
'Long about knee-deep in June,
'Bout the time strawberries melt
On the vine, --some afternoon
Like to jes' get out and rest,
And not work at nothin' else!"

James Whitcomb Riley

Counting blessings

402 - a pleasant way to spend the afternoon

403 - remains

404 - hayrides

405 - the scent of honeysuckle in the night air

406 - pewter plates

407 - just washed

408 - chocolate chips under glass

409 - summer reading

Joining Ann today

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In high feather

Been collecting them for years -

Someday I might make something artsy with them. Not sure yet.

But for now I just stare in wonder at their sheen, color, form, and sometimes intricate patterns.

I hear them say--no, shout--GOD IS.

God, a magnificent, caring, personal Creator.

A posy to consider: that He would so grandly dress something so inconsequential

Does it sound fanciful that every time I find a feather on one of my nature rambles, it makes me giddy?

Because to me, it's a love token that He's trained my eyes to find. And I snatch it up with delight!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Birds, Bees, and Retro Meanderings

It all started with me noticing my little honeybees hovering over the birdbath and swooping down like garden fairies for a drink. Just standing there watching them made me so happy. I've learned that honeybees benefit from a having a water source near the hive to keep them healthy, so I was glad for our homemade birdbath, a homeschool project made by our eldest boy and I about eighteen years ago.

The idea came from volume two of the hippie-licious Family Creative Workshop books from the early '70's. The collection was given to us many years ago by a friend who thought they might be useful to a homeschooling family.

After all these years, they're a little worse for wear but still in circulation at our house. The youngest and I love to pull them out to see what may inspire. Anyway, that's where we found the how-to for making a cement birdbath.

After some research online, I still think this is the best method by far, even though this picture is not much help. Family Creative Workshop can still be found in some libraries. If you can't find it but you're interested in making one, let me know and I'll help you with the details.

So here we are in 1993 proudly displaying our mama-and-son project.

And here's the handsome fella all grown up with a baba of his own. Maybe they'll make one someday, beings that the grandbaby adores "tweet-tweets". Sheesh! Where does the time go? Thanks goodness I haven't aged much...*cough*

If you're still reading at this point, thank you. Feelings of nostalgia make me long-winded.

Oh, and one more thing - the stones decorating the birdbath rim belonged to my husband. He collected and polished them in a rock tumbler when he was a little boy.

Family Creative happy memories all around.

"And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game."

Joni Mitchell


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