Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy First Blogging Birthday . . . to me!



On January 13, 2011, I wrote my very first blog post. I can remember how excited I was, as I had wanted to start a blog for a long time. We were in a darling cabin in Cannon Beach, Oregon. One night while Dave was speaking to the students at Ecola Bible School, I got out my Blogging for Dummies book and was off and running.

I love blogging so much.


It has been a wonderful year for me of:

     *finding my blogging voice and style
     *learning so much about the computer
     *reconnecting with old friends
     *making new blogging friends
     *learning so much by reading your blogs
     *taking my first e.course, Blogging Your Way
     * I could go on and on.

I have had some fun moments along the way:

     *I have written 183 posts (counting this one)
     *I have 81 followers and many other faithful
       readers
     *I have received 1,344 comments

Do you remember when you first started blogging? You wonder if anyone will read?, will anyone comment?, will anyone care? It was a very fun day for me when The Pioneer Woman put a link on her blog to this post. But the truth is, I have loved every reader and every comment, just as much!

So today, on my first blogging birthday, I CELEBRATE YOU. Thank you for being a part of my life through my blog, Gg - Notes on the Journey. 

Let the party begin . . . you are invited to join me on Wednesday and Friday for my first ever giveaways!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Lovely Surprise

Last week I was having one of those days . . . "just moved to a new city - my husband is out of town kind of days." Just the kind of day a girl could use a lovely surprise. I was reading a favorite blog, Jelly Shane, when I discovered that I had been given two blog awards. How sweet it that. Martha is a blogger from Australia that I enjoy. 




Thanks so much, Martha.

This award comes with some assignments. I am to tell you seven things about myself and then pass the award on to another blog that I love. So here goes . . . 

1. I never met my in.laws until 3 days before our wedding. (We liked each other.)

2. I have travelled to over 40 countries.

3. When I was in junior high (in an MK school in Malaysia), the US government paid to bus our entire school several hours to Kuala Lumpar to wave flags (also provided by the US government) and cheer when President Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson got off their plane.

4. I have lived in a tent with my husband and daughters for almost 4 years - in 3 month increments.

5. My sister, Ruth got married 6 months before me, and my sister, Sue got married 6 months after me.

6. When I am stressed, I dream that Communist are hunting me down.

7. Before I began blogging, I knew nothing about computers . . . not even how to turn it on.

Now for the fun part. I am happy to pass along this award to ~ Sandra @ Thistle Cove Farm.

Sandra blogs from the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, where she and her husband raise rare breed horses and sheep. I met Sandra when I was taking the Blogging Your Way e.course.

On Sundays, Sandra features "Sabbath Keeping", a series of quotes, verses and thoughts on different topics. Right now she is supporting her husband through chemo and radiation treatments. Her honest posts have been amazing. Hope these awards bring you some encouragement today, dear Sandra. They come with my continued love and prayers for your family.

UPDATE: I have received "The Stylish Blogger Award" a second time by Vilisi @ Island Musings. Thank you so much, Vilisi. Stop by her sight and encourage a blogging newbie. Vilisi just began her great blog a few weeks ago.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Bookcase Dilema

There are so many decisions to make when you move into a new house. Today, I woke up with some energy and a desire to get one more task done . . . and I chose "the bookcase dilema."

The week we moved in, I threw my personal books helter skelter on the shelf in our bedroom and there they have been sitting. This morning was decision day . . . how do I want to arrange my very favorite books?

I stole an idea from our daughters and just had a delightful time organizing and arranging my books, NOT by author, NOT by subject, NOT alphabetically . . . BUT BY COLOR. I love it!

orange

red


pink

blue


brown


green

white

yellow



What do you think?

What dilemas are you working on in your home right now?

7/30/2012 - Linking today to Brenda, a very generous blogger who often shares her tips with new bloggers.

 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

House Tour (part six) ~ Living and Dining Room (second try) :-)

Last week, I had insomnia and was blogging at 2 am.
That is when I originally wrote my post on my living room and dining room. (Part six of my house tour.) Well, you know how they say never blog when you have had too much to drink . . . I now say never blog when you did not sleep enough.

I accidentally posted it and then I immediately took it off, but it was still in google reader. Today I reposted it, on the day I really wanted it to be posted. . . and it reverts back to the old date. (So now you know, what will happen if you make the same mistake that I made.)

Part six is now before part five. I do not want you to miss is . . . so I am providing the link for you here ~ Glenda goofed up ~ so here is the link to part six of the house tour.

I did not want you to miss it. (The silly thing is, I did it twice . . . so Friday's post will also be out of order.) Argh!

Monday, January 24, 2011

House Tour (part five) ~ I love my kitchen

(I found this darling picture at HomeGoods)

I was going to begin by saying that our kitchen is the heart of our home. And in some ways this is true, because we love our kitchen and spend a lot of time in there. But we are a family that really uses all the spaces in our home. So, let me say it this way ~ the kitchen is one of the hearts of our home.



This is not a kitchen I would expect to find in an old vintage Chicago graystone. Beautiful cabinets, stainless steel appliances and lovely backsplash and under cabinet lighting. And check out all the space . . .

Huge drawers.

Pull out drawers for my pots and pans.

Lots of tall cupboard space - including this beautiful corner spot for my goblets and tea pots. (This short girl has to use a step ladder often in this kitchen.)


I love having space for our kitchen table, which I now use as a desk. This is where I do most of my blogging.


We even have room for my cookbooks. Check out "Dave's Recipes", the notebook on the bottom shelf. It is a happy day for me, whenever this book is used. My husband is a great cook and has compiled his own personal cookbook. (I know, I AM spoiled.)


I am enjoying plenty of counterspace for some of my favorite collections. This carved farm lady and bowl are both from Poland.



We enter the house from the back. This beautiful door leads right into our kitchen. The cool transom window opens and the old doorbell still works. (Thanks, Anne, for teaching me what a transom window was.)

I love this little hallway that connects the kitchen to the living room. I keep produce in these pottery pieces. (I got these at a garage sale in Seattle for $15.) The cupboard you can barely see there is a huge linen closet. Ok, folks, this is not your average Chicago apartment. We have tons of storage. There is a door between the kitchen and living room. Feels very British to us.


The refrigerator placement is a little awkward. We tried to switch the door handles, but it wasn't possible. We have gotten use to it. The cart is from IKEA. These two windows provide so much light, I could not get a good picture with them opened. Love sunny kitchens.

Just off the kitchen is a cool old pantry.

This first cupboard has a lock on it. The girls and I think it is the perfect spot to keep our "raspberry cordial" ala Anne of Green Gables.




I love my kitchen!

What are your favorite things in your kitchen?

4/9/2011 ~ Linking to parade of homes.


6/24/2011 ~ Linking to the lovely Sarah. We like to pretend we are neighbors. Soon my daughter is going to be living in Sarah's neck of the woods.

Friday, January 21, 2011

House Tour (part six) ~ Living and Dining Room

Almost every day, when I walk into our living room, I say, "It is so pretty in here." It was so fun to find an apartment with beautifully painted walls, in colors I would have chosen. And all these windows, woodwork, built in hutch etc. Let me show you . . .


It is a little hard to get the perspective here, as these are long narrow rooms and hard to photograph. These two rooms open to each other. We switched it up a bit and have our dining room table in the living room.  And our living room in the dining room, where the hutch is.

I was pleased that our wicker chairs held up to two and a half years on our patio in Seattle. I think they are happy to be back inside.

I simply adore this built in hutch.

Fun cozy corners.

I purchased the blue and white curtain panels at IKEA. Did the whole house, all these beautiful windows for under $100. (Go, IKEA) IKEA curtains are very long, so I was able to make valances for the kitchen as well. I used the same curtains for our guest room closet and our master closet.

These IKEA Billy bookcases have held up to three moves and being in storage. This door leads into Dave's office.


We have this fun fake fireplace. It was called an "ornamental fireplace" in the rental ad. The little woodpile (which you can't see), has a red light and a white light behind the "wood." It is very corny, but we actually love and turn it on a lot.

After having most of our things in storage for two and a half years . . . we are really enjoying seeing "our stuff" again.

Santons from France.


Some of my pitcher collection and a table runner made by my sister Sue.


This cool chair from Senegal, Africa. Size 11 wooden clogs from Amsterdam. And . . . our fake fire. I should have turned it on. (smile) 

Lilliput Lane cottages from Scotland.



My adorable little green church from Becky.

When Christy was 16 she went on a missions trip to South Africa. She carried this beautiful tea set home for me in her backpack.





This was my going away present, from my dear friend, Carol. I am the fourth owner of this beautiful picture. Each owner had it in their home for about ten years. It gets passed on, only when a close friend moves away. (I am tearing up here.)

Well, there you have it ~ Home Sweet Home. We are grateful to the Lord for His provision and to our brother.in.law, Rich, who found this apartment for us on craigslist.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." James 1:17




Space Noodles


To welcome us to our new home in Chicago and make sure we remembered our old home in Seattle, our good friends the H's sent a surprise package . . . full of wonderful goodies all MADE IN WASHINGTON.

I loved everything, but my favorite was a bag of space noodles. You guessed it, a bag of pasta
shaped like the Space Needle.




I saved them for a special occasion . . . the playoff game between our old hometown team the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS and our new hometown team, the CHICAGO BEARS.

Well you already know how that ended . . . eating the space noodles did not help at all. My sis.in.law, Sara wrote me, "Space Noodles? Nooo, Sears Tower Noodles!"



Who were you cheering for?

photo credit: blogs.publishersweekly.com and commons.wikimedia.org

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Funeral Potatoes and White Chocolate Apricot Scones

When I was growing up, my parents were missionaries in Viet Nam. I was an M.K. (missionary's kid.) My youngest brother, Tim, was born the year I graduated from high school. By the time he was growing up, my dad was a pastor. So Tim was a P.K. (pastor's kid.) Two pretty different worlds.

As a pastor of a large church in Spokane, my dad officiated many funerals. As a young kid, Tim sometimes went with my parents to the funerals, which were always followed by a ham dinner put on by the ladies of our church. The side dish was always some yummy gooey version of scalloped potatoes. To this day, Tim calls any delicious variation on that theme . . . funeral potatoes.

Five years ago, when my mom, Hallie, died suddenly, three days after a cancer diagnosis . . . our family was the recipient of funeral potatoes and a lot of other delicious food that was brought to our home, by some of these same ladies. My immediate family is about 35 people. For an entire week, delicious, huge, beautiful meals were lovingly delivered to my dad's home.

Sometime after my mom's funeral, we sat down to debrief as a family. We talked about the amazing outpouring of love that had been expressed to us . . . all that amazing food.

 When you are grieving, you do not feel you need or want to eat. We found that when these amazing delicious "Thanksgiving like" meals kept showing up on our doorstep . . . we sat down and we ate. We learned that when a family is experiencing loss ~ bring food and make it your best. (And bring paper plates, too, as no one has energy to do dishes.)

My own version of funeral potatoes is white chocolate apricot scones. It is also one of my most requested recipes.

Several years ago, when our friends lost their daughter in a car accident, I made mounds and mounds of scones and delivered them to their home. R called later to say how blessed she was that very first horrible morning, as friends and family began to pour in, to have delicious scones and coffee to serve them. (And by the way, they all wanted the recipe.)

Today, I made a double batch for a meeting Dave is hosting later this week. They are good for happy occasions, too.



WHITE CHOCOLATE APRICOT SCONES

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup heavy cream (not whipped)

Combine dry ingredients. Add fruit and chocolate. Use fork to stir in cream. Knead on floured board 8 - 9 times.

Divide dough into two flat rounds and cut into triangles. (Since I was serving a lot of people, this time I just rolled the dough and cut them into circles.)

Bake for 11 minutes at 425 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt together 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Brush over warm scones.




P.S. My mom's memorial service was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My dad did the service. (He said no one else could "do her justice.") Over 800 people celebrated her life with us, that sad day. 


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